Polish builders told to demolish outhouse knock down chateau
Villagers smell a rat after 18th century wine chateau purchased by Russian is razed to the ground
A TEAM of Polish builders commissioned to knock down a small outhouse in the grounds of an 18th century wine chateau in southwest France misunderstood the instructions and "accidentally" knocked down the chateau itself, according to reports from Bordeaux.
The splendid Chateau de Bellevue, which according to the Daily Mail "once boasted 140,000 sq ft of grand reception rooms, ornate fireplaces and winding marble staircases", was razed to the ground. Only the outhouse remains.
Situated a few miles northeast of Bordeaux, Bellevue belongs to Dimistry Stroskin, a Russian businessman based in Warsaw, who had planning permission to renovate the house. Informed of the builders' error, he told the Sud-Ouest newspaper: "I had no idea the chateau had been destroyed. I'm in shock."
He said he had fallen in love with the house after scouring the area for the ideal French chateau to do up. Now that the mistake had been made, he promised to rebuild a faithful replica.
The chateau was the pride of the wine-making village of Yvrac and the villagers are not only furious – some of them smell a rat.
The Daily Telegraph says there are locals who believe it was more than an innocent mistake. "This wasn't a slip of a digger, it was blatantly done on purpose," said one.
Claude Carty, the mayor of Yvrac, has ordered all work on the site to be stopped while he runs an investigation. "A building permit for renovation was indeed delivered in June 2011," he told Sud-Ouest. "It simply authorised the destruction of a tiny part of the outhouses."
The former owner of the chateau, Juliette Marmie, told the Telegraph: "We sold it in good faith after Mr Stroskin showed us very detailed plans he had had drawn up with interior decoration respecting the 18th century style, and that's what we expected him to do.
"We are totally thunderstruck and don't know what to think... It needed some work done to it, not to be knocked down."