THE CYPRUS Town Planning and Housing department is being reorganised and upgraded, Interior Minister, Neoklis Sylikiotis said yesterday as the department marks 60 years of operation.
The upgrade includes planning, strategic redesigning and control of developments.
“The department has room for a real upgrade of its contributions to create the preconditions for a fair society,” Sylikiotis said.
“The Town Planning and Housing department aims to design, implement and assess the government’s land usage policy, development planning, town planning works, developments’ licence issuing, housing policy and the sheltering of the dislocated,” the Department’s director, Christodoulos Ktorides, explained.
“To promote transparency and educate citizens, we have asked local authorities to publicise proposed bill amendments… for the first time, all local authorities are asked to arrange for public discussions before processing any proposals to amend bills,” said Sylikiotis.
Parliament has currently two bills to consider relating to urban consolidation and the transfer of development rights. Their aim is to ‘activate’ unused land and introduce mechanisms for ‘active town planning’, Sylikiotis said.
A bill modification on town planning legislation is also in the works to update ‘Plan for the Island’, Sylikiotis said.
Plan for the Island was adopted in 1974, two months before the Turkish invasion and was frozen until 1990. It was originally put forward during British colonial rule to deal with problems to do with population increase, urbanisation and tertiary industries’ activities.
About 3,200 development applications were processed within 30 working days by making use of a new self-check process, Sylikiotis said. This self check process will be used on larger-scale and more complicated developments from March 14, he added.
“Our goal and vision for the next decade is to apply and establish Active Town Planning to achieve the strategic aim to have liveable communities,” said Ktorides.