One of Europe’s most popular tourist attractions has finally been given planning permission after more than a century of illegal construction work.
Work has been carried out on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona since 1882 and continues to this day, with just eight of its 18 proposed spires completed.
But finally, the Unesco World Heritage site got its official permit from deputy mayor Janet Sanz to allow the church to be completed.
Ms Sanz said the church would pay €4.6 million for the official permission to finish the final stages.
The Sagrada Familia previously agreed to pay €36 million over a 10 year period for the expenses generated by 137 years of construction.
Ms Sanz said: ‘We are a brave government that does not allow privileges.’
Speaking after the council meeting, she said the permit would ‘resolve a historical anomaly in the city, that an emblematic monument like the Sagrada Familia didn’t have a building permit.’
The final cost of the project is expected to total €374 million.
The unfinished Roman Catholic church was the final project of the architect Antonio Gaudi before his sudden death in 1926.
Although Mr Gaudi had applied for a permit in 1885, but authorities discovered the site never had planning permission three years ago.
Work continued on the site until it was halted by the Spanish civil war in the 1930s where many of the original plans were lost.
The church, which was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, attracts around five million tourists per year.
These admission fees are expected to pay for the permit and final construction costs and will go to surrounding transport networks.
Building work is now allowed to continue until 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
When the planned 560ft spire is complete, it is expected to be the tallest church in the world.
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