The destruction of the Saint-Joseph chapel in Lille is recorded

It was the last attempt to try to save the chapel of the old Jesuit college Saint-Joseph in Lille. The appeal filed by the association Urgences Patrimoine before the administrative court of Lille ended in failure. The association challenged the decision of the Ministry of Culture, made public in November, not to classify the building as historical monuments, which would have protected it from destruction.

By legal means, Urgences Patrimoine hoped to thwart the plans of the owner, Junia (ex-Yncrea), an engineering school of the Catholic Institute of Lille, and force him to integrate the chapel into his vast campus rehabilitation project. This should ultimately allow 8,000 students to be accommodated on the site and represents an investment of 120 million euros.

Desecrated and disused for many years, the chapel had already been the subject of a demolition permit, issued in March 2019 by the municipality of Lille. But the site had been postponed before the summer, loudly contested by the association for the defense of heritage. In June 2020, the Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, requested a further investigation into the monument. In November, the Ministry of Culture made the decision not to protect the building.

Insufficient heritage interest in the eyes of the State

The state had ruled that « the heritage interest of the chapel ” built in the 19th centurye century, of ” eclectic style ”, was not “Not sufficient to justify a classification under historical monuments”. He therefore did not consider it unnecessary to open an instance of classification, which would have legally entailed the suspension, for one year, of the site.

The Ministry of Culture was also sensitive to the fact that the heritage dimension had been taken into account by investors. The Rameau Palace, classified as a historical monument, must be restored thanks to new investments. The removal and reuse of certain elements of the decoration of the chapel are also planned.

Given the chronology of events, the administrative court was unlikely to disavow the state in this case. The association Urgences Patrimoine has also indicated that it would not seize the Council of State, putting an end to long months of mobilization.


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