Luxury flat owners lose bid to dim historic Belgian lighthouse

Ostend's Lange Nelle lighthouse

A famous lighthouse in Ostend, Belgium, will be restored to its former glory after residents of a nearby luxury apartment block lost a bid to dim its beam.

The developer of the new apartments, Versluys Group, lobbied Belgium’s maritime agency to block the Lange Nelle lighthouse beam, after residents — many of whom are from outside Ostend — said the light was disturbing their sleep by shining across their bedrooms at night.

The agency subsequently decided to put up a foil shade to cover the section of the beam that was shining into the apartments. However, this prompted outrage from many local residents of the seaside town.

Lange Nelle is a listed building that has been shining at night for 74 years in Ostend, a town that is popular with Britons.

A local petition over the issue titled ‘Which came first: the lighthouse or the luxury flats? Or did they not see the lighthouse?’ attracted more than 10,000 signatures.

Local outlet VRT News reports Flemish heritage minister Mathias Diependaele saying the foil will be removed “as quickly as possible,” as the negative reactions to the decision have outweighed the original complaints.

He also points out that those living near to the lighthouse knew it was there when they bought their flats.

The mayor of Ostend, Bart Tommelein, had also called for the foil to be removed. He told VRT that he is pleased that this will now be the case and the city authorities had not been consulted about the foil before its installation.

A similar resistance built up in the Dutch city of Rotterdam last year, after plans to dismantle a historic bridge to allow Jeff Bezos’ superyacht through were revealed.

After threats of crowds egging Bezos’ vessel en masse, another route was found.

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