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Supreme Court rules town planning council illegal

The Court’s ruling has created chaos in the Cyprus property market causing prices to collapse in many areas.

THOUSANDS of land owners will be affected by the Cyprus Supreme Court’s decision to annul the latest Nicosia Master Plan following an application by around 55 land owners.

The Court ruled that the composition of the Joint Council and Town Planning Council which approved the latest Nicosia Master Plan was illegal. In his ruling, the judge argued that many absences were repeatedly noted at their meetings but that no efforts were made to update those who missed them.

The Supreme Court’s decision has created chaos in the Nicosia property market. The 2003-2006 decision to move certain lands into agricultural, commercial, residential or protected zones has now been reversed and the old Zoning Plan of 1996 will be reinstated. The sudden changes in zoning have caused property prices to collapse in many areas; property development projects are also being affected.

The Interior Minister, Neoklis Sylikiotis, was reported as saying that the government would take what measures it could to limit the consequences of the annulment. The minister is expected to meet with the Legal Service in the coming week to decide on grounds for mounting an appeal and to explore what options are available to limit the consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision. However, legal circles have said that there might be no grounds for an appeal, given the nature of the case.

The Minister pointed out that a revision of the Zoning Plan had already started in 2008, and should be ready in 2010. He further noted that the Supreme Court’s decision was based on “clearly procedural issues” of composition of Councils, not on the appeals of certain land owners.

The Minister acknowledged that thousands of citizens would be affected, particularly where residential zones had been extended by the annulled plan.

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