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La Sagrada Familia In Barcelona Granted Building Permit After 137 Years

After 137 years, La Sagrada Familia basilica has finally been granted building permission by the city of Barcelona.

Work began on the Roman Catholic church, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, in 1882, but it has never had official building approval.

City officials do not know why approval was never given. Records show a request was made in 1885 but there is no evidence of the permit being approved.

The Junta Constructora del Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família -- the foundation overseeing the building and preservation of the church -- agreed to pay  €4.6 million (AU$7.45 million) in fees to negotiate the contract.

"This permission marks the conclusion of the proceedings initiated by the Junta Constructora with the goal of normalising the construction and finishing it in 2026," the foundation said in a statement.

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The basilica, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, has also been granted approval as a place of worship.

Janet Sanz, Barcelona's deputy mayor of urban planning said the agreement brings an end to "a historical anomaly in our city”.

"An income of €4.6 million to Barcelona, joining the €36 million agreed to compensate the impact it causes in its environment," Sanz said on Twitter.

"We are a brave government that does not allow privileges."

La Sagrada Familia. Photo: Getty

The building of La Sagrada Familia is funded by the 4.5 million people that visit it each year, as well as donations.

The building permit will cover construction until 2026 -- the year it is hoped to be finished, to coincide with the centenary of Gaudi's death.

Plaster models of Gaudi's plans are being used for the final stage of building, as the originals were destroyed in a fire in the 1930s.