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Thursday 16th July 2020
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Uncontrolled Development

Sir,Further to your recent article where Mr Foukaras correctly sights Tala and Emba’s uncontrolled property development as the cause of the recent tragedy:

In July 2004, I forwarded a letter highlighting the problems of high density development to the Director of Planning in Nicosia with copies to Paphos Director of Planning, the District Officer and Tala Community Board. Although this letter was accompanied by well over a hundred signatures, I still await an acknowledgement.

In August 2005 and January 2006, I wrote to the Ombudswoman concerning two separate developments. Although I received letters of assurance that my concerns would be investigated, I still await notification of the outcomes.

In August 2005 and January 2006, I wrote to the Ombudswoman concerning two separate developments. Although I received letters of assurance that my concerns would be investigated, I still await notification of the outcomes.In January, I wrote to the District Officer about the development of two separate apartment blocks within the inner village area.

Both these letters were endorsed with the signatures of concerned householders on neighbouring plots. To date no acknowledgement has been received.

In March 2006, I wrote to the Minister of the Interior highlighting the local problems of high density development with plans of a proposed four storey apartment complex. Although this letter was accompanied by some 150 signatures no acknowledgement was ever received.

In April 2006, I read an article in which the President was stated as saying that he was vetoing government plans to issue an amnesty to all illegal restaurants in the Republic. Because I had already raised a local issue against the Mukhtar’s daughter, who had built a very large restaurant in a residential zoned area adjacent to my home without planning approval or approval for change of use, I wrote to the President highlighting the case and wishing him better luck than me. Receipt of this letter was acknowledged, without further comment.

Since early 2004, realising that the Planning Department were doing absolutely nothing to control the outcome of the development explosion; I started attempting to form an association to battle the problem. Because I was determined that any worthwhile association must be fronted by Cypriot nationals, it took me until April of this year to get things off the ground.

In spite of making approaches to the District Officer and Tala community leader, this association has had little real effect other than to have managed development of a 48 apartment block within the main village area.

This was achieved through a technicality, as the planning approval was based on being able to purchase irrigation tracts which are owned by villagers and run between three adjoining plots of land. Having apparently already sold the complete project to some Scandinavian investment company, this now appears to be causing some embarrassment.

Because of our general lack of progress in stemming the rapid demise of our village, we came to realise that things can only be altered from within. We have now gathered together a team of independents with no financial attachments within the community and are backing their attempt for election in December to the position of Mukhtar and board members.

I thoroughly agree with all you say. It is unfortunate that it requires a tragedy such as occurred last week to bring our plight to people’s attention. My main concern now is that this will all amount to nothing in a few weeks’ time if we continue to act as fragmented groups.

John Moffat,Paphos

Copyright © Cyprus Weekly 2006

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