THOUSANDS of villas could be built in Cyprus over the next few years if the licensing of 14 golf courses gets the go ahead from Government. The news comes at a difficult time for the construction industry, which is already being affected by the huge number of unsold properties on the market.
The procedure to obtain licences for the golfing developments has now entered its final stages. On January 26th the Council Committee will re-examine the revised policy proposal, which will then be submitted to the Council of Ministers. Once the criteria for the golf courses have been agreed and finalised, the Committee will allow the applications to be examined during in the first 15 days of February.
“In the meantime, the Council will examine certain reservations that have been expressed by businessmen during their last meeting with Commerce Minister, Antonis Paschalides“, Commerce Ministry General Manager, Efstathios Hampoullas told StockWatch.
Those reservations concern the maximum sum the businessmen will have to submit to the government to secure a license; currently the minimum sum is €5 million. But this may be increased when the benefits to the businessmen involved in the projects have been re-assessed.
The Committee also needs to finalise the proposal for the use of reclaimed water for irrigation.
Irrigation and bank guarantees
According to Mr. Hampoullas, there are two main points contained in the new provisions:
The proposal “provides that the irrigation and water supply of the project must be carried out by desalination plants that will use electric power from renewable sources of energy. The plants will be made either in cooperation or as individual units by the businessmen“.
Also, the government introduced one more provision: “the double guarantee not only for the golf courses but also for the desalination stations. It is about a sum that will be increased every year so as to be in line with the season”. “The bank guarantee is deemed necessary in case that a businessman is no longer willing to deal with the operation and maintenance of the course. The government will be able to take advantage of it“, Mr. Hampoullas said.
The revised proposal provides for up to 14 licenses to be granted. Most of these are in Limassol and Paphos. Others have been submitted for Tersefanou in Larnaca and another for the Ayia Napa municipality. Licenses for projects have been given to Kouklia and Geroskipou and new applications have been submitted for the Randi Forest project and the project in Tsada.
Theodoros Aristodemou, Demetris Karapatakis, Plato Lanitis and Nicos Shacolas have all expressed their interets in these projects.
According to Mr. Hampoullas, the number of villas to be built will depend on the size of the course. However, the minimum area for each villa will be at 120m2 and the golf courses 5,000m2. Each course must be provided with green areas of 200 donums and sports facilities.
The Cyprus Sports Organization will control of the sports facilities and the Cyprus Tourism Organization will control the leisure facilities.
“Cyprus will become a more competitive destination since golfers like to visit different countries and to organize several tournaments“, he said.
The hotel development will remain as it is with 5-star hotels or tourist villages of ‘A’ category or luxury.
The tourist development will not exceed 20% of the total permitted public area, while the hotel will be built on three floors and have a maximum height of 3.10 metres.