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Sunday, May 31, 2020
Home News Agreement on town-planning development in SBAs

Agreement on town-planning development in SBAs

A SPOKESMAN for the Interior Ministry yesterday informed the House Commerce Committee that the two sides had reached a technical agreement, which is soon expected to be ratified by the Foreign Ministry and the Bases.

After 50 years of the Bases’ presence in Cyprus, the residents in communities within them will have the right to develop, manage and make use of their properties, just like the rest of the Cypriot public.

The Commerce Committee has managed to launch the possibility of an agreement between Cyprus and the Bases for the recognition of the residents’ rights, so they can develop their properties as they desire,” said Committee Chairman, DISY’s Lefteris Christoforou. “They can’t not have the same rights as the rest of the citizens.

Christoforou maintained that developing areas within the Bases would lead to a broader development of the Cyprus economy.

According to what was heard at the House yesterday, the agreement requires a town-planning scheme and the same procedure that applies in the rest of the Republic will be implemented. However, the town-planning licences will be issued by the Bases.

The English are insisting on having the last say, but the town-planning legislation that exists in the Republic will apply,” said DIKO’s Angelos Votsis.

Votsis explained that sales and purchases will be allowed only for Cypriot citizens. “Especially in the Akrotiri area, there is another problem with the Bases’ arbitrary decision to appoint a large area as protected land for wild bird life,” he added. “The Interior Ministry has already sent a letter of complaint. We are demanding a revocation of the order, so that the area can start being developed; in the next months.

Once the agreed town-planning scheme exists, the English will be obliged to issue licenses, based on the agreement they have in front of them,” said Votsis.

Cyprus development within British SBAsEditor’s note

The British Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia comprise those parts of Cyprus which stayed under British jurisdiction and remained British sovereign territory when the 1960 Treaty of Establishment created the independent Republic of Cyprus.

They cover 98 square miles, 47.5 around Akrotiri, the Western Sovereign Base Area (WSBA) and 50.5 around Dhekelia, the Eastern Sovereign Base Area (ESBA).

The Akrotiri Wetlands in the WSBA holds around 30 species of birds qualifying under EU Directive 79/409/EEC on the Protection of Wild Birds, while the Episkopi Cliffs holds a further seven, including the Elenora’s Falcon and the Griffon Vulture.

Further reading: Consultation on the Designation of Special Protection Areas within the Western Sovereign Base Area.


  1. Don’t want to get in to the politics or the legal status of the bases or the ‘rent’ still owed by the British government to the cy gov., but one thing i must say is that the area has not been drowned in concrete, in my view a good things, and on another note I happened to be on my way abroad last year and happened to get into a conversation while waiting fro my flight with a member of a UK contact group on Cyprus, she worked in the the house of commons, and recalls the days back in the 60’s when hotels and unspoilt coastline was the norm. The only good thing she had to say about the situation in the north is that it (until recently) meant this has not happened …it will though…@Yiannos, file mou, would you have not preferred to have remained under British rule and have access to your ancestral lands and home, rather than to have ‘gained’ independence and lost nearly half the island ?

  2. Yiannos,

    As a UK tax payer I totally agree with you. The bases should be closed, or if they are to remain open the Cyprus Government should help with their upkeep. The British tax payer pays £m’s each year helping support the Cyprus economy and employing local staff, but the British tax payer gets a very raw deal for the outlay.

    West Germany helped pay for the cost of American and British troops on their bases. But Cyprus appears to want the bases for free, worst still actually wants the British to pay twice.

    Britain has long since ceased to be the policeman of the World and its time to close all its overseas bases and bring its troops home. Cyprus is no exception.

  3. @Yiannos

    The base areas were very necessary and extremely important in the Cold War days which is why YOUR government granted the base areas Sovereign Status.

    Being granted Sovereign Status means it is INDEPENDENT and cannot be interfered with by the politics or military of Cyprus, Greece or Turkey without consultation and agreement of the UK’s sovereign government.

    Just as well, look at the mess the rest of the island is in. Not in any particular order, the island is split in two, corruption is rife, politicians bicker, the infrastructure is 3rd world, local government is aimless, law and order is practically non existent and nepotism is a way of life….I’m sure you can add to the list.

    Today, even more so given the Cypriot turmoil, it is important to retain that status to be free of interference. Today, the bases are the stepping stone to the middle east for NATO and has to remain so until the ‘need’ is no longer.

    Best you concentrate on the islands deficiencies and get it up to speed alongside the rest of Europe rather than vent your anger at the English. We are not your enemy, the base areas will be returned at some point and in a damn sight better condition than the rest of the island.

  4. Nice to be referred to as quote ‘the English’ ~ how times change now we’re no longer the cash cow!

    I bet the gun mad Cypriots can’t wait to blast a few more rare birds!

  5. The coastal drive along the WSBA is for now strikingly beautiful and serves to remind how much of Cyprus must have appeared before untramelled, short-sighted, thoughtless, insensitive, shoddy, half-baked concrete sprawl became de-rigueur.

  6. When the SBA land reverts back to Cyprus, I hope that Britain holds back on the title deeds until the Cyprus developers, banks and lawyers release, with no incumberances, title deeds duly fully paid for by all purchasers.

  7. @Yiannos

    I can’t comment on the actions of the Cypriot and British leadership who negotiated and agreed the Republic’s Treaty of Establishment more than 50 years ago. It is what it is.

  8. I sincerely hope that the “English” continue to “insist on having the last say” in this matter. The Bases are Sovereign territory after all.

    Hasn’t unplanned “development” done enough damage to the environment without concreting over what is probably the last relatively safe haven for wild birds and wildlife in Cyprus?

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