High rise buildings proposed for Paphos

The people of Paphos have, in principal, given their approval to high-rise buildings during an public discussion held in the municipalities of Yeroskipou and Paphos town which provided a forum for locals wishing to voice their opinions.

Paphos councilor Nicos Similides who attended the recent meeting said: ‘In my opinion it’s now necessary to have multi story building in Paphos. We haven’t officially discussed the matter at a council meeting yet, but I’ve spoken to numerous residents in Paphos and they share the same opinion.’

He said it was time to select an area to build multi story constructions.

“This will save us space, create more areas of green, and space for roads, and so on. I hope the council will soon pass this idea, which will give us stronger power with the government for new town planning, and give us more choices,” he added.

The councilor believes they will be able to assure the government of the need for these types of buildings, which have the added advantage of being flexible.

Yeroskipou councilor Panicos Skordis agreed.

“I believe taller buildings in Yeroskipou will greatly benefit us. But these mustn’t be built in the historic centre, but in other carefully selected places. This will give us more space and we will be able to leave more green areas free,” he said.

But the councilor stressed that buildings no higher than three or flour floors should be constructed.

“Multi level buildings are not an option for us,” he added.

Skordis suggested the creation of underground spaces to solve the parking problem.

Most of the people attending the open session didn’t raise objections to the idea of multi storey building in Paphos.

However they did stipulate that conditions should be attached. These included restricting these types of buildings to specified areas of the town centre.

They underlined that green areas, playgrounds, large parking areas, squares, pathways and pavements should also be built.

Agyris Ioannou the President of the European Environmental movement said, generally they were against the building of high-rise blocks.

“They’re soulless and make people feel as if they’re living in cages. But in the case of offices in town centres, I can see that it’s sometimes necessary. This isn’t so for Paphos though,” he said.

Ioannou agreed that there was an urgent need for more parking spaces in Paphos, but came up with an alternative suggestion.

“It would be a better idea to create two large car parks on the outskirts of the town, where people can leave their cars and either walk or catch a bus into the centre. This system of ‘park and ride,’ is already operation successfully in many towns in the UK,” he said.

Ioannou believes that if the centre of the town was pedestrianised, there would be no alternative but to implement this idea, which he said was usual in other European towns and cities.

“It also makes the citizens healthier,” he added.’ We could also use bicycles, but we need to create more bicycle lanes and promote cycling more.”

Meanwhile, Andreas Evlavis of the Green Party said they hadn’t discussed the matter, but thought there were positives and negatives. “If we build high-rise buildings we will free up more areas of green. This is a very good thing. We will win space by doing this,” he added.

“But I don’t necessarily trust this to happen. Will the green areas be left as such or will they get swallowed up? This proposal should only apply to the centre of Paphos.”

He also said the buildings should not be in front of the sea, and any building should be at least 500 metres from the coastline.

“Sadly this isn’t the case in Paphos, and it’s too late to specify this now,” he said.

Evlavis said he believed such builds could be used for any purpose, but must ensure a high level of construction because Paphos was at risk from earthquakes.

“Contractors must stick to the rules when they’re building. There isn’t enough control from the planning stage through to completion, because there just isn’t enough staff to control this. I’ve even heard of large blocks of flats never being inspected at all,” he said.

During the meeting, residents also made a request for the removal of all petrol stations from the centre of Paphos, saying it created traffic jams, and were hazardous.