Disgraced MP’s Sun City hotel project to get chop

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The underconstruction Sun City hotel complex in Ayia Napa involving Giovani Group developers of disgraced AKEL MP Christakis Giovanis’ will have two illegal extra floors knocked down.

On Wednesday, website Philenews quoted Interior Minister Nicos Nouris saying: “Local authorities have concluded that the development was carried out in violation of environmental impact assessment provisions and town planning regulations”.

According to Philenews, the developers are obliged, within a time limit set, to demolish the additional floors that were built illegally and restore the project on the basis of provisions set in the environmental approval and urban planning permit.

The controversial 5-star hotel and luxury villas complex is located in the Ayia Thekla area.

The European Commission has launched infringement procedures against Cyprus for failing to comply with the EU Directives for nature protection on several projects including this one.

The five-star resort received permission for seven levels (one of which is a basement and the other the ground floor), five floors, but seven floors are currently under construction.

Permission was granted for 203 rooms comprising an area of 15,930 sqm but the plot of land falls within the tourist zone T2a of Sotira Municipality.

This zone provides that only hotels of up to three floors or five levels are allowed.

It is not clear how permission for five stories was issued by the environmental authorities

Head of the Environmental Department Costas Hadjipanayiotou told Philenews that based on the preliminary Environmental Impact Study and the planning permission, the permit was for a basement, ground floor and 5 upper floors.

“The design and the height of the buildings are expected to affect the cultural environment of the area while the volume of the buildings will cut off the visual access of passers-by north of the unit, towards the chapel of Ayia Thekla and the sea “.

According to the Department of the Environment, work on the project had been frozen for at least a year and a half.

Therefore, notes Hadjipanayiotou, the department was not monitoring the project.

Sun City is also located near two areas of special ecological value, which have been included in the European network of nature conservation areas Natura 2000.

Giovanis resigned from his post as MP last week after he appeared in an Al Jazeera gotcha video ready to help a Chinese businessman with a criminal record secure a Cypriot passport.

The Al-Jazeera report suggested that he and his company were involved in securing ‘golden passports’ by sidestepping strict regulations in the Citizenship for Investment Scheme.

The sting documentary implicated House Speaker Demetris Syllouris who also resigned a few days later following a public outcry against corruption.

Syllouris was seen in the same video, during a private dinner at Giovanis’ house, telling the fake investor how an allegedly convicted criminal could circumvent the system and secure a passport if the money was right.