Preserved buildings

  Article By : Marinos Kineyirou|  Published at : Politis Newspaper| 28-10-2012

Marinos Kineyirou: Vice-president of the Cyprus Association of Estate Agent Entrepreneurs, President of the Real Estate Agent Entrepreneurs Association of Larnaca- Famagusta and Property Auctioneer

Marinos kineyirou Manager of Marinos Estate Agencies LTD

Marinos Kineyirou Manager of Marinos Kineyirou Estate Agencies LTD

PRESERVED BUILDINGS

 

The architectural heritage is an irreplaceable expression of the richness and cultural heritage and a priceless testimony of our past. By preserving our heritage, the historical memory of each nation is ensured and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep it alive. The future can not and should not be built at the expense of the past.

Preserved buildings are the buildings for which a preservation order has been issued by the interior minister and generally provides criteria according to which the preservation orders may be issued for construction with a special, social, architectural or historical character. Some details such as the location of the building, the condition and materials play a role in its evaluation. A building can be declared as listed at the request of the interested owner in the Department of Town Planning and Housing or upon recommendation of the above department or in the local authority to the Interior Minister for the specific building. Applications can be filled for buildings found in all parts of Cyprus. Construction and alterations of listed buildings can be made by owners as long as they are consistent and do not affect negatively the original character of the building, and it goes without saying that they have secured a special permit with the consent of the Minister of the Interior, the planning permission and a building permit as required under the relevant laws. There are no restrictions on the transfer, sale or rental of a preserved building.

The Republic of Cyprus has adopted and signed all the agreements that have been made for the protection of architectural heritage and offers financial incentives and grants for all the constructing works carried out for the maintenance of a building.

The financial incentives include sponsorship given by the State to the owner for the complete maintenance of a building, transfer coefficient and tax. All the listed buildings located in urban areas are given a grant of 40% of the approved maintenance costs, while those located in rural areas and do not benefit from transfer coefficient, the grant is 50%.

If the status of a building or its parts are considered dangerous then after direct authorization from the Director of the Department of Town Planning and Housing, the execution of direct operation is possible by the owner who has the responsibility for maintaining the building, to safeguard the structural adequacy and avoid its collapse. In case of the owner’s indifference, direct interventions are carried out by competent authorities and subsidized by the conservation fund in two thirds of the cost, provided that the remaining third will be paid by the competent authority and all costs will be requested and paid by the owner. If the owner to be charged with the total amount of expenditure refuses to pay, then the competent authority claims it by the court as a civil debt.

Although the relevant departments and Municipalities announce that owners of listed buildings are obliged to repair and maintain in excellent condition these buildings which are highlighting the tradition of folk heritage, however I observe that the authorities themselves disregard to take drastic measures against those who break the law. Several owners of the buildings are waiting to be demolished to erect new buildings thus avoiding the requirement for restoration of the building. It is imposed by the competent authorities to take the necessary measures against the owners so as not to lose a human life.

A typical example is the monumental building (Ancient Monument) in the St. Lazarus Square in Larnaca which has become extremely dangerous. Plasters are falling from the building on the road, it has taken a dangerous slope, the walls are corroded and half-demolished, there are no doors and windows and the site has become a source of contamination by rodents. The St. Lazarus square is a place where many tourists come to admire the architecture, following the layout made by the Larnaca Municipality; however they face the sickening sight of the preserved building which does not show our tradition of folk heritage. By a registered letter to Larnaca’s Town Hall, specifically to the Director of the Department of Antiquities and the Interior Minister from the 14th of February 2012 it has been updated that the building is extremely dangerous but sadly until today no competent has dealt with such a serious situation and day by day I worry not to be a witness of an unpleasant event.

The inability of the state to protect or enforce the individuals to protect the cultural and architectural heritage abandons the listed buildings to the ravages of time. The need to upgrade areas by taking advantage of the wealth of preserved buildings is imperative, while the decrepit and dangerous abandoned houses are converted into outbreaks of infection. The inventory of dilapidated listed buildings by municipalities is crucial and should be demolished either publicly or privately owned, because it is not allowed to put human lives at risk. Supporting crumbliness listed buildings should be an obligation of the owner and if he declares weakness, then the support is undertaken by the Municipality to charge the owner. Safeguards should be created for the protection of listed buildings like any listed item damaged from any cause should be restored exactly to its previous form, or in the case of the building’s demolition the owners are required to fix it so that in case of re-erection the new building is fixing to the old one. In this way you will put an end to the aspirations of some owners to create high-rise buildings in the place of traditional ones.

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