Are there no planning rules in Cyprus?

In recent months, I and other residents of Mytides Pyla, have expressed concerns at what appears to be either a blatant disregard for or the bending of planning regulations in respect of the proposed developments in Pyla.

Since the beginning of 2007, we have witnessed a steady procession of potential purchasers looking to develop this plot, and subsequent letters to the Planning Officer remain unanswered.

On July 12, workmen stated to clear the field. The next day, I managed to make contact with the Planning Officer, but her response was less than encouraging: basically, as this is designated a residential area, anyone can build, (this implies that the right to build is taken as guaranteed, permission only needs to be rubber stamped). No permission to build had been given, but the owner could build a road, the reason for which remains unclear other than to facilitate the later building of property, and appears on the surface to be an attempt to usurp existing planning regulations.

All this is done with out public notification, consultation, against the wishes of local residents and in contravention of the governments Citizens’ Charter, which states “particular attention is given to ensuring that the public is informed in a timely and reliable manner“.

It is apparent the process of notification is not followed and any objections are looked upon by certain individuals, be it developers or the legal authority charged by the government of Cyprus for ensuring fair and equal treatment under existing regulations as little more than a joke.

Like Spain, Cyprus is fast becoming over developed; this is evident by the large number of houses in Oroklini and Pyla which remain unoccupied, yet construction continues regardless and the granting of planning permission appears to go ahead unabated. The recent deaths in Paphos caused by mud slides during storms only too graphically show the consequence of failing to enforce existing regulations.

There are EU regulations regarding development, its impact on the environment, disposal of surface water and sewerage, noise and natural light pollution, all of which seem to be treated with contempt when it comes to land development.

Planning regulations are there for a purpose, if building continues at it present rate, within 10 years, especially along heavily populated costal areas, there will be no green field sites
left in Cyprus.

SF McManus

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2007