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Homes at Armou in Paphos continue to slip

The recently built estate of six houses in Armou in Paphos are continuing to slip down the hillside and two of the access roads leading to the development have now become impassable.

THE PROMISE of help from the Paphos District office has been welcomed by residents of a stricken development in Armou, but it has come too late for one couple who have already decided to move back to the UK.

Six houses which make up a recently built development in the picturesque village have continued to move down the hillside.

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

The home owners’ plight was highlighted in last weeks Sunday Mail, and just one week on, one of the access roads to the estate has 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, and could also be out of action at any time.

The developer responsible for the estate is JNM, but the Cyprus Mail has been unable to contact them. A number of the homeowners have issued court proceedings against them however.

Geoff Higgs, one of the homeowners said: “We don’t feel safe here any more and my wife Maggie is now too frightened to stay. We are worried that we could wake up one morning half way down the ravine.”

Higgs’ wife will move back to the UK in April, and her husband will follow her in June. “We are going to be staying with friends as we sold up everything back home to move to Cyprus to retire and buy our dream house. All the money we have is tied up in this house,” he said.

In just a week, cracks have appeared in the interior walls and front retaining wall top to bottom. The rear retaining wall which backs onto a steep ravine has split apart with a one-foot gap.

The pool pump house is above the retaining wall and according to Higgs, if the wall gives way it will take the pump house and the pool- which weighs about 50 tonnes, into the ravine with it.

“It’s very worrying and stressful and we’ve had enough,” said Higgs.

The president of Paphos’ architects and civil engineers association, Chrysostomos Italos was contacted by a number of the home owners to prepare a report, which he is currently completing.

He said: “I met with the district office chief engineer on Wednesday and gave him pictures of the development so that he would understand how serious the problem is. I want to help these people.”

Evagoros Andreou, of the Paphos district office planning permits department said they would inspect all of the files and draw up a report.

“We also have to follow certain procedures if a building may be dangerous and to see the reasons for this. We have to check if they are covered by the final certificate. We will also see who signed the supervision of the works, as well as the civil engineer who is responsible,” he said.

Higgs said that at least was something. “We would move back if the development could be saved and made safe,” he said.

All of the houses have serious structural problems, from slanting floors, to the partial collapse of stairs, walls, swimming pools and patio areas. Outside drains are now exposed in one garden and retaining walls have split.

All of the homeowners believe the land was unfit to build on and recent bad weather and a water leak underneath one of the access roads have compounded the problem.

Readers' comments

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  • Denton Mackrell says:

    @Nigel. Do you mean that because the planning authorities here have no purposeful control over the building project and its ‘as designed, as built’ progress (unlike in the UK), if anything goes wrong all the luckless buyer can do is take a civil action at his cost against the engineer in charge and the developer? If so, what role are the so-called planning authorities actually fulfilling?

  • Costas Apacket says:

    …and if the construction engineer is related to the developer/builder who wants to make a fast buck????

    Isn’t it time the planning department remit was changed so that they perform an official task that is at least something useful?

  • @Adrian – Unfortunately, it is not within the remit of the planning authorities to inspect site conditions.

    It is the responsibility of the construction engineer to draw up structural plans to ensure the integrity of the building – and it is the responsibility of the building contractor to follow those plans.

    In theory you can build anywhere providing you take the necessary steps to ensure there will be no problems.

  • Adrian says:

    Just a thought. Why does the government not take action against THEIR planning officers and take responsibility for the duty of care to the public or is it another power station syndrome somebody else will pay which seems to be the attitude

  • Adrian says:

    I would have thought that the municipality planners should have looked at this site and refused planning permission. How many times have you looked at a development and thought “I can’t beleive that they are building there”. It must have involved a lot of “negotiations” to get permission or someone was incompetent!!

  • @Costas Apacket – ETEK is involved. Chrysostomos Italos, the president of the Association of Civil Engineers and Architects in Paphos, who is preparing a report on the issue for a number of buyers is a member of ETEK.

    The report he is preparing can be used in any action the buyers may wish to bring against JNM.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Perhaps ETEK should be involved in this?

  • @Robert – this nightmare has nothing to do with estate agents and solicitors.

    Responsibility rests with the developer JNM and a number of the buyers have issued court proceedings against them.

    According to the company registration database, their registered office is given as Pafos Tafoi Ton Vasileon – Royal Complex, Apt. 24

    JNU will have employed a suitably qualified and registered construction engineer to carry out the structural design and to draw up the plans to be used by the building contractor.

    Either the structural design was wrong or the building contractor did not follow design correctly.

    (It is also the construction engineer’s responsibility to ensure the structural elements are built according to his/her design).

  • Robert Briggs says:

    OK. We have the name of the “developer” JNM ltd. However, what are the names of the Estate Agents, Solicitors, Civil Engineers & Surveyors responsible for this nightmare?

    Awaiting answers ASAP. R.B.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.


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