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Armou family told it is not safe to stay in their home

As their home continues to slip down the hillside, a family living in one of the houses on an estate at Armou in Paphos have been told to leave within seven days as it has become unsafe to live there.

A FAMILY who bought a home on a stricken development in Armou in Paphos were told by authorities yesterday they must move out within seven days as the house was no longer safe.

Resident Geoff Higgs told the Cyprus Mail yesterday that two men from the district office came in the morning and examined the entire development in order to compile a full report.

“My daughter, her husband and two children, who live in house number two opposite us, have been told they have to vacate the premises within seven days, as it is not safe to stay,” said Higgs.

“In my opinion, this house is a candidate for being knocked down. Obviously, I’m not a civil engineer, but the foundations are tipped and a huge amount of reconstruction would need to be done to try to save it.”

The stricken house is now on a visible slant. Six houses which make up the recently-built development in the picturesque village have continued to move down the hillside. Electricity poles in the area are also now leaning at an angle and although Higgs says the EAC was swift in showing up and trying to temporarily ease the problem, the poles were still moving.

The entire estate is in imminent danger of collapse after it was constructed on land locals had long been warned was unsafe.

“The officials had files with them containing all of the relevant paper work associated with each property and made copious amounts of notes. They also took photos,” said Higgs.

Higgs said that officials commented that the site should’ve been cleared by the developer at the start of the project, taking away the native soil and replacing it with a ‘different hardcore and subsoil.’

“He said that the preparation of the site wasn’t correct.”

The development was built by JNM developers. The Cyprus Mail has been unable to contact them for a comment. A number of the homeowners have issued court proceedings against the developer.

Last week, one of the access roads to the estate 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.

“One of the officials was visibly shocked when he saw the state of the road,” said Higgs.

Evagoros Andreou, of the Paphos district office planning permits department said after the visit: “As promised, representatives of the district office went to the site in Armou and will prepare a report. I will examine it tomorrow and according to the findings, we will decide how to proceed.”

Higgs’ neighbour Simon Phillips said a gaping hole has appeared outside the front of his house since last week.

“We now have a huge hole like a cave outside our entrance door. It’s about two and a half metres deep and three quarters of a meter wide. The foundation of the house is now exposed,” he said, adding that the stress has been “monumental” for both him and his wife and children.

Although he says it was a positive step that officials from the Paphos district office had gone to the site yesterday, Phillips said his hopes are mainly pinned on someone accepting responsibility for the problems and putting them right.

In the meantime Higgs and his wife Maggie have made the decision to move back to the UK next month, as they no longer feel safe in their home.

Readers' comments

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  • Gavin Jones says:

    When it comes to real estate, it’s not ‘safe’ here. Period.

    Too many potential obstacles to negotiate: developers not disclosing hidden mortgages and other pitfalls, ditto the banks, ditto the lawyers. And that’s before horror stories like this one.

    Build an extension on the house where you live and rent here. That’s the smart thing to do.

    If you really ARE obsessed with buying, use the services of someone like Nigel Howarth because if you don’t, God’s the only other option and he isn’t exactly visible in these parts apart from on icons in the churches…

  • Peter says:

    But it is the norm in Cyprus to build on slipping land, in drainage ditches and on land that no one else will touch. And then sell it to Brits who want to live the dream.

    As my developer said when I was in his office last week “It is part of our culture to take advantage of a situation”…. And those were his exact words. So we can take it that the Good Samaritan was not a Cypriot then?

  • Steve says:

    This is not the first time that a development in Cyprus has slipped down the slope. The authorities tell the occupiers to leave and that’s it. No action is taken against the developers who have built on unsuitable ground, which probably could have been used if the surface material had been removed and replaced with suitable base material. The occupiers of the Chloraka Sunset development were news once, but they have been forgotten, as will the those now involved in the Armou debacle.

    If you want to refresh your memories about the Chloraka mess, I could give you a web site to go to, but it contains the name of the developer, so Nigel would delete it. Instead, I can advise you to Google “Chloraka Sunset” or “collapsing retaining walls cyprus” and all will be revealed and you can see the whole mess.

  • Sue says:

    I also live in Armou and was fascinated to read the village Mukhtar’s comment re. the terrible plight of the slipping homes (on your news comment a couple of weeks ago). He stated that he knew the site was unsafe. However, the land behind my home is subject to slippage during very heavy rains, also the same land joins Gonion Rd.and has slipped onto the road several times this winter. I have written 3 letters to the Mukhtar over the last 2 years, as the village now has responsibility for this Green area, but he has never done me the courtesy of a reply!

  • Robert Briggs says:

    I would love to give these scumbags responsible for this nightmare, a choice.
    Either give these buyers a full refund or have their right hands chopped off! R.B.

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