Framework for citizens’ claim in the Cyclades Islands

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Framework for citizens’ claim in the Cyclades Islands

Taking into account the recent resolution of the major Environmental Organizations regarding the problems created by building outside the settlement, the Network for Sustainable Cyclades points out that any relaxation of the situation and failure to take immediate measures to reverse it will lead to the definitive loss of the islands’ identity (morphology, scale, landscape) and degradation of their common property, endangering their development so far.

It calls on the Government to:

  • Immediate implementation of the current legislation, the jurisprudence of the Council of State, as well as the existing “General Urban Plans” and “Spatial and Housing Organisation of Open Cities”, as far as:
    • on building with control of the permits issued, but also re-inspection of those that have been issued
    • the opening of new roads, as ‘private’, without permits and specifications
    • the destruction of walkingpaths
  • Immediate restriction of new tourist building with:
    • Abolition of the special urban plans, the ESCHASE and the ESCHADA (so called strategic plans) in the Cyclades and the islands in general
    • Exclusion of tourist accommodation from strategic investments
    • Focusing subsidies on upgrading existing businesses and enriching the tourism product by highlighting environmental, cultural and productive resources
  • Maintaining the possibility of constructing only single-storey houses outside the settlement (from 80 sqm to 150 sqm depending on the island region), which will be energy and water autonomous (with recycling of used water) through standards proposed by experts and based on international experience. Abolition of underground houses.
  • Drastic restriction of the possibility of building swimming pools on islands plagued by drought and water scarcity due to overconsumption and the climate crisis, by banning them in residences and hotel rooms, along with effective control of drilling.
  • Restricting rather than encouraging the creation of new tourist beds, pointing out the worsening of the problem that the continued increase in the supply of tourist beds of all categories will create in the additional increase in tourist concentrations in the high tourist season and the further overloading of the already deficient infrastructure for a large number of islands, which requires at least a change of priorities (infrastructure first).
  • Transferring the resources of the resilience levy to local government for the implementation of green infrastructure to enhance the resilience of islands.
  • Support through funding programmes for projects related to the repair and upgrading of existing buildings as well as energy saving and energy efficiency improvement actions. The aim of this action is, in addition to the green transition, to ensure employment in the construction sector. At the same time, it is proposed to strengthen energy communities to avoid large-scale renewable energy projects.
  • Immediate funding of a study to assess the carrying capacity of the islands, in order to examine whether they can withstand further tourism growth and the preparation of a road map for their transition to a state of sustainable development before the completion of the Local Urban Plans.ans.

The Network for Sustainable Cyclades asks the Municipal Councils of Cyclades to take a stand on these issues and send a letter to the Government asking for their immediate implementation.

Immediate measures for the Cyclades

Measures on Building

  1. Immediate application of the case law of the Council of State for off-plan building until the completion of the spatial plans (building only with a front on a legally existing road)
  2. Prohibition of the opening of individual roads. Application of case law.
  3. Immediate cessation of pre-approval and approval of Special Urban Plans, ESCHASE, ESCHADA (for tourist accommodation) with the aim of abolishing them as a type of building development in the Cyclades. With the aforementioned suspension (in accordance with the case law of the Council of State), spatial planning – Local Urban Plans (LUPs) – is facilitated in terms of their objectives and the creation of irreversible situations is avoided. With the same procedure, municipalities can also choose to suspend building permits in off-plan areas until the establishment of the LUPs.
  1. The cessation of the granting of permits by the Municipalities to create a swimming pool, due to water scarcity and climate crisis and the simultaneous removal of the requirement to create a swimming pool in hotel accommodation.
  2. Thorough study of the landscape, as stipulated in the respective circular – by the Councils of Architecture – for licensing the construction of underground houses, abolition of additional building (bonus) and prohibition when it is not in harmony with the local architecture.
  3. Implementation of existing building and protection planning ordinances.
  4. Maximum off-plan residential building size of 150 sqm – regardless of the size of the land and above the integrity and subdivision limit – until the adoption of the LUPs with the aim of adoption by these plans. Energy & water self-sufficient constructions (with recycling of used water) through standards based on international experience.

Cultural and Environmental Protection Measures

  1. Measures to protect environmental and cultural resources. Immediate protection of Natura sites, geological formations, streams, wetlands and sand dunes.
  2. Carrying out the studies indicated by existing spatial plans and the studies relating to the coastal area resulting from the Barcelona Treaty
  3. Protection of the walking paths and their recognition as newer monuments. Prohibition of vehicular traffic on them and removal of the side building.
  4. Preparation of landscape assessment and enhancement studies in accordance with the institutional framework (which will feed in time the studies of the Local Urban Plans).
  5. Implementation of sustainable mobility measures.
  6. Water saving measures and effective control of boreholes.

Sustainable Development Measures

  1. Exclusion of tourist accommodation from strategic investments in the Cyclades.
  2. Focusing subsidies on upgrading existing businesses and enriching the tourism product by highlighting environmental, cultural and productive resources.
  3. Transferring the resources of the resilience levy to local government for the implementation of green infrastructure to enhance the resilience of islands.
  4. Immediate need for the creation of financial instruments to support productive activities in the primary and secondary sector in order to employ residents and attract workers. Minimising dependencies (energy, water resources, food, health, education, other services) in line with the Regional Spatial Framework and approaching self-sufficiency in certain sectors.
  5. Support through funding programmes for projects related to the repair and upgrading of existing buildings as well as energy saving and energy efficiency improvement actions. The aim of this action is, in addition to the green transition, to ensure employment in the construction sector. At the same time, it is proposed to strengthen energy communities to avoid large-scale renewable energy projects.
  6. Measures to ensure affordable housing for workers on the islands.
  7. Note – acknowledge the deterioration in the living conditions of residents that will be created by the continued increase in the supply of tourist beds of all categories, the creation of high tourist concentrations during the tourist season and the overloading of infrastructure for a large number of islands, which requires a change in priorities.
  8. Stopping the creation of more tourist beds and the growth of tourism. Stopping the planning of larger technical infrastructure (in order to stop the attraction of more tourists). Creating the necessary infrastructure.
  9. Strengthening social infrastructure to create an attractive living environment.
  10. Immediate need to finance a study to assess the carrying capacity of the islands, in order to examine whether and how much they can withstand further tourism growth, and to prepare the road map for their transition to a sustainable development situation before the completion of the Local Urban Plans.
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