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A shocking situation for building development in Cyprus

4 June 2017

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Building development in Cyprus

Had present circumstances were not with us as they are (economic situation etc) we could have undertaken some sort of crusade with the first recipient being the Minister of Interior, who has spent years to introduce the building amnesty, only to find that this situation is still thriving.

During our holidays we visited Protaras Beah (Paralimni village) within the very heart of the tourist area, where most of the hotels and entertainment establishments are located at. The Government has recently constructed a 5 km footpath next to the seaside, as part of a 18 km footpath which will join the Paralimni beach to that of Ayia Napa (the Ayia Napa part is almost completed). This Protaras footpath is indeed the best seaside footpath so far constructed in Cyprus. It has sitting benches, view points, drinking water at stages, as well as w.cs.

During our walkabout we have noted originally three containers placed next to each other located next to the seashore protection zone, where no building (not even parking) is allowed and having no access. After a week we noted that the containers were faced with stone (one with cowboy logs) extended with pergola and fencing and occupied as holiday homes (having even a sign to let). No electricity was available and we assume no water supply and of course no sewage. And all this development under the nose of the Paralimni Municipality, who apparently must have taken no action to prevent this. After 3 weeks another two containers have appeared on the same route and with the same specifications, which have been duly constructed and are now used as café/open air bars. Access to all places are over adjoining land (mainly Government owned), no official road access, electricity produced through private generators (for which a permit is required) and the seashore is gradually being converted from a protection area into another row of illegal buildings and uses. We could “understand” an illegal building within a far away location, away from curious eyes, but to have this sort of illegality within the most popular spot in the most attractive beach in Cyprus, this is beyond our comprehension and a sheer provocation. Last week we revisited the place and we noted that the 3 container houses became 7!

Staying in the same Municipality, there was an ex-hotel apartment under renovation and change of use from a hotel apartment to residential flats for sale on the beach. Works have been going on for the last years, without a building permit and then stopped. Duly advertised in the local press and on spot signs with appropriate flags to draw attention and with full view of the developer’s website. Paralimni is not a large Municipality so that the local council will not know and this, coupled with many more other illegal buildings, make us wonder not only because nothing has been evidently done, but it encourages others to follow. At the end of the day one is skeptical whether it is worth submitting an application for a building license. We thought at a time that Peyia was the “star” of illegalities (see its occupation of Coral Bay), but evidently there are others who are trying to catch up. Contrary to this, a client of ours who has erected a beach house with a building permit was refused by the same Municipality (Paralimni) the certificate of approval, because his pergola projected within the seashore zone by.60 cms (within the land), notwithstanding that it is 80 meters away from the beach!! Quite rightly, but then are we not all equal in this country? Then suddenly we found out the reason why we are not all equal. These illegal chaps are locals and have a vote for the next elections (!!!), whereas Nicosia people and others do not.

Having said that our next door hotel has taken over the Governmental land and it has illegally extended the facilities with no action taken.

So far all those of you who have a strong point to protest, here is what you could do, in a “light” note.

  • Check to which political party the Mayor is from

  • Invite a national press journalist but for both the opposition as well as from the supporting party papers to visit the site

  • Make sure that you do your own research, take photos etc since you will find that very few journalists will bother to make their own research or just send them if they do not show up.

  • Do not necessarily use your name (let the paper do it independently), but above all make sure that your own building has nothing contrary to the building permits - since you will be paid a visit by local technicians (acting under instructions) to see if everything is O.K. with your property.

  • If you are a local, more attention will be paid to you as opposed to foreign residents (quite unfair but this is the facts of life).

  • Etc etc

Had present circumstances were not with us as they are (economic situation etc) we could have undertaken some sort of crusade with the first recipient being the Minister of Interior, who has spent years to introduce the building amnesty, only to find that this situation is still thriving.

Coming back to the occasion of the hotel apartment to flats for sale (on the beach at €5.000/sq.m.) we had a letter from a furious client of ours who also has a hotel apartment on the beach (same area) to whom we have suggested not to undertake any illegal changes etc. So at the end of the day this law abiding citizens felt very stupid when he realized what others are doing exactly the same and he is still awaiting after 4 years the duly applied permits.

In ending and as a matter of comparison, a similar beach house at the location where the 7 house containers are, has a sales price of around €6.000/sq.m. - say for 70 sq.mts. €420.000, whereas the converted container cost cannot be more than €50.000 “plus” land say another €100.000 total €150.000. A huge profit don’t you agree dear readers? Who said that prostitution and narcotics are the main profit earners? There are others as long as you “do business” within an “understanding Municipality”. |

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