Roland Garros work halted again — after three days

Roland Garros

PARIS: The expansion of Roland Garros, the historic but cramped home of the French Open, suffered a new legal blow Thursday when the Paris High Court ordered a halt to building work.

In the latest setback to the long-running saga involving the 400-million-euro ($448 million) redevelopment of the site in the plush western sector of Paris, the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) ordered an interim suspension.

It came just three days after a different court had given the green light.

On Monday, the French Conseil d’Etat (Council of State) overturned a March ruling that blocked development of a new 5,000-seat stadium in the Serres d’Auteuil due to protests over the impact the work would have on the botanical garden’s historic greenhouses which date back to the 19th century.

It was the heirs of the architect of the greenhouses, Jean-Camille Formige, who successfully sought the latest stoppage to the work with the TGI ruling that the Council of State had breached an earlier legal judgement.

“Our goal is to block the works. If everything is destroyed, our actions have no sense,” Philippe Zagury, the lawyer of the Formige descendents, told AFP.

Since Monday, work had already started on some demolition as well as tree-felling at the Serres d’Auteuil.

Part of the redevelopment of Roland Garros will also see a roof built on the central Court Philippe Chatrier but that is not expected to be finished before 2020.

The sport’s other three Grand Slam events — Wimbledon and the US and Australian Opens — all have covered stadiums.

The French Tennis Federation reacted angrily to the latest delay claiming in a statement the decision was taken “in dubious circumstances” and demanded an annulment of the latest legal decision.