Environment protection

Iskele residents in powerful protest against hotel plans

By Roger Bara ….

Hundreds of people turned out to protest against plans for a large hotel beside Long Beach in Iskele, on Saturday 19th December.

Long Beach is considered to be one of the most treasured parts of the district, and is immensely popular with both locals and holidaymakers. At the moment, no new building is allowed within 500 metres of the shoreline, and the area provides a habitat for many different species, such as migratory birds. It also has well established cycling and walking paths, and park and exercise facilities for both the able and disabled; the locals are worried that these would disappear, along with a huge section of the existing beach area.

Artist’s impression of the hotel

Those attending were all encouraged to hold part of a long tape which eventually showed the extent of the proposed hotel footprint. Many were blowing whistles resulting in a cacophony of sound.

Mustafa, a worried resident who lives on the opposite side of the main Famagusta-Iskele dual carriageway, says his solar panels will be rendered useless if the 7-storey building goes ahead, and told CyprusScene that although his property is worth £300,000, he would now “give it away” for half that amount.

The event organisers, who were supported by numerous individuals and groups, are adamant they will continue to raise their objections with the relevant authorities, and issued this statement.

“We see that the subject hotel construction is trying to be carried forward by taking permission by deliberately interpreting the floor heights to be at the maximum level, ignoring the flood risks.”

“On this occasion, we invite the City Planning Department, the Environment Department, and its stakeholders to make decisions that prioritize the interests of the public, not individuals.”

“Our initiative declares that all legal rights on the subject are reserved and that it will continue its struggle to the end.”

Many people at the event couldn’t understand why there was a need for a hotel on the site, as the Grand Sapphire development, just 500 metres across the road, includes approved plans for 30-storey blocks, including a hotel with thousands of beds!

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