THE PROMISE of help from the Paphos District office has been welcomed by residents of a stricken development in Armou, but it has come too late for one couple who have already decided to move back to the UK.
Six houses which make up a recently built development in the picturesque village have continued to move down the hillside.
The estate is in imminent danger of collapse after it was constructed on land locals had long been warned was unsafe.
The home owners’ plight was highlighted in last weeks Sunday Mail, and just one week on, one of the access roads to the estate has dropped a further 7cm.
Two of the access roads to the development are currently impassable with giant gaps in both, the third is barely useable, and could also be out of action at any time.
The developer responsible for the estate is JNM, but the Cyprus Mail has been unable to contact them. A number of the homeowners have issued court proceedings against them however.
Geoff Higgs, one of the homeowners said: “We don’t feel safe here any more and my wife Maggie is now too frightened to stay. We are worried that we could wake up one morning half way down the ravine.”
Higgs’ wife will move back to the UK in April, and her husband will follow her in June. “We are going to be staying with friends as we sold up everything back home to move to Cyprus to retire and buy our dream house. All the money we have is tied up in this house,” he said.
In just a week, cracks have appeared in the interior walls and front retaining wall top to bottom. The rear retaining wall which backs onto a steep ravine has split apart with a one-foot gap.
The pool pump house is above the retaining wall and according to Higgs, if the wall gives way it will take the pump house and the pool- which weighs about 50 tonnes, into the ravine with it.
“It’s very worrying and stressful and we’ve had enough,” said Higgs.
The president of Paphos’ architects and civil engineers association, Chrysostomos Italos was contacted by a number of the home owners to prepare a report, which he is currently completing.
He said: “I met with the district office chief engineer on Wednesday and gave him pictures of the development so that he would understand how serious the problem is. I want to help these people.”
Evagoros Andreou, of the Paphos district office planning permits department said they would inspect all of the files and draw up a report.
“We also have to follow certain procedures if a building may be dangerous and to see the reasons for this. We have to check if they are covered by the final certificate. We will also see who signed the supervision of the works, as well as the civil engineer who is responsible,” he said.
Higgs said that at least was something. “We would move back if the development could be saved and made safe,” he said.
All of the houses have serious structural problems, from slanting floors, to the partial collapse of stairs, walls, swimming pools and patio areas. Outside drains are now exposed in one garden and retaining walls have split.
All of the homeowners believe the land was unfit to build on and recent bad weather and a water leak underneath one of the access roads have compounded the problem.