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Chateau demolished ‘by mistake’

Russian businessman stunned to find house he “fell in love with” had been knocked down – but mayor orders legal probe

PROSECUTORS are investigating the destruction of an 18th century Gironde chateau – after it was demolished, apparently by mistake.

The Chateau de Bellevue in Yvrac had been earmarked for a large-scale renovation project by its new owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Stroskin. Only one small building in poor condition was supposed to be demolished, but workers instead knocked down the main building.

Stroskin, who runs an import business in Poland, told journalists he was stunned to arrive on the site 15km from Bordeaux and discover that the chateau had been demolished.

He said he had found the chateau after several years of searching around France and had “fallen in love with it”. Even although it had been in poor condition, he had wanted to renovate it.

But, he said, he did not bear a grudge. The damage was done and he planned to work with a Paris architect to “rebuild an identical Bellevue”.

However, local newspaper Sud Ouest said that he had plans already drawn up by a Polish firm of architects for a new Bellevue. A contract worth €1.5million had already been agreed with a local masonry firm for a two-year build.

Yvrac mayor Claude Carty was not impressed and has ordered work on the site to halt.

He told the newspaper: “A building permit for the renovation was issued in June 2011. It only authorised the demolition of an unsafe part of the outbuildings. Our complaint of a breach of the bulldings code is with the prosecutor.”

The 13,000sq.m Bellevue estate was dominated by the chateau in the middle of the Bordeaux vineyards, which had a grande salle which could hold 200 people. It was formerly hired out for wedding receptions and other functions.

See the chateau as it was, on its website www.domainedebellevue.info

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