Neighbours fuming over Fritzl’s plan to build new flats in Amstetten

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LONDON - Residents in the Austrian country town of Amstetten are fuming, as their most infamous fellow citizen, Josef Fritzl, is planning to build new flats next their houses.

At first glimpse, the architectural plans for a dozen or so modern flats, an underground garage and an office block with big city-style mirrored windows seemed to hold out the promise of long-awaited metropolitan flair for Amstetten.

However, residents in the provincial backwater, 60 miles west of Vienna, have been horrified to discover that the ambitious scheme recently ratified by the town council has been conceived by Fritzl, who is serving a life sentence in the country’s Stein prison.

During a spectacular trial last year, the seventy-five-year-old was convicted of holding his daughter prisoner in a cellar beneath his Amstetten home for 24 years, raping her an estimated 3,000 times and fathering seven children through the incestuous relationship.

But prior to his conviction, Fritzl spent some 140,000 pounds on buying up land located only 600 yards from his cellar.

He applied for planning permission for his office and flats scheme in 2006 - two years before he was caught.

Amstetten residents have since been appalled by the news that their town council has routinely given its approval to the project, which has been ardently pursued by Fritzl’s insolvency lawyer, Walter Anzbock.

Officials studying the development apparently had no objections to the scheme and rubber-stamped it after agreeing it appeared to fulfil the statutory requirement of fitting “harmoniously” into the area.

“Fritzl won’t earn a cent out of the development and he has nothing to do with the current negotiations,” he said this week.

However, Amstetten’s residents are furious.

“Fritzl had done so much damage to our town’s reputation,” the Independent quoted Otto Popp, a pensioner who lives close to Fritzl’s proposed development site, as saying.

“He cannot be permitted to erect a monument to himself in Amstetten. He is utterly despised here.”

His son, Jurgen, has joined with other residents in a bid to stop the scheme. The town council has yet to respond to their appeal. (ANI)

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