The Paphos District Officer has initiated litigation against the developers and civil engineers involved in building a residence on soft soil, in what is the latest case of reckless and dangerous construction.
It is known that a number of Cyprus properties, particularly in the Paphos area, have been built on unsuitable ground. In several cases, the houses were sold to foreigners, and issue picked up by media abroad in the past. Many of the residences were villas with swimming pools.
In some cases houses’ foundations have shifted, potentially putting the residents at great risk. Although no accident has been documented yet, it does not take much to imagine what would happen in the event of an earthquake, not an uncommon phenomenon on the island.
Paphos’ District Officer, Andreas Christodoulides has said his office turned down two recent requests for building permits, but that the developers went ahead anyway. Somehow the construction company secured the licence from the Town Planning Department, raising questions as to how the district officer was bypassed.
Areas where the soil is unsuitable are well known to the Town Planning Department, so this state of affairs cannot be put down to ignorance. But how the aforementioned building permit was secured may be due to loopholes in red tape.
At a recent meeting in Paphos, an officer from the Town Planning Department conceded that a problem existed; she reportedly recommended that from now on maps should indicate soil safety levels and cautionary information.
The Town Planning department has come under scrutiny on several occasions, with it boss under investigation by the Ombudswomen for lack of accountability and out-right breeches of planning regulations.
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