You may wonder how Mongolia came into the Cyprus town planning picture.
The Mongolian nation of nomads became fearsome fighters in Asia and as they grew in numbers with limited national resources, invaded Russia, and part of Europe (Genghis Khan) and then China (because of which the Great Wall of China came to keep away the invaders – no success).
That was followed by the reign of Kublai Khan whose descendants ruled China for years.
The Mongols lived in removable tents and moved from place to place to secure pastures for their animals.
With regards to Cyprus town planning, we never thought that it would reach our island, with limited adoption of tents.
Those tents (called yurts) will they become a new “fashion” for Cyprus development?
There are a couple of them in the Polis area, but more recently and more provocative a new tent project is under development at Platres within its residential development zone.
Platres, a village of exceptional natural beauty and with housing development of particularly excellent quality (from the Colonial era to the more modern structures) is governed by strict town planning regulations.
This includes the extensive use of stone walls, pitched tiled roofs, construction of retaining walls.
This unique mountain resort with hotels with an upmarket demand in terms of housing development, the Mongolian tents, we believe have no place in this village.
Yes, it is a sort of a holiday home, but imagine if this type of development is left unchecked, we will not be surprised to note if these low-cost structures will take over soon.
We suspect that such structures have no planning permits, and it will downgrade such resorts and in general the housing development of Cyprus.
Basically, these structures (movable) include a timber floor (based on small concrete pillars) and timber frame (now aluminium rods), on top of which canvas (the Mongols used cloth and animal skins) is placed.
We give the benefit of the doubt to the Town Planning Department.
But we are worried about such developments as we were with the 7 containers situated on the Protaras beach (the most expensive beach land in Cyprus) duly converted into houses in front of the eyes of the local Municipality, which are let out to visitors.
These container houses have no permits, no access, no public services, yet they are there for the last 7 years. So, by projection, why not the Mongol tents?
Having said that the use of tents is adopted by the Department of Antiquities to protect monuments from the weather, but they are done most attractively.
Times are changing, but one hopes that the changes will be for the better and not for the worse.
We expect that if these tents are developed in the form of a campsite (worse than those existing in Troodos square and Prodromos with the presence of ugly illegal structures, which were never removed.
If the situation is not stopped now, it will take over in the future.
Low cost with limited/no public facilities, they will attract campers and objectionable in their behaviour young people, with all-night parties, we will see them sprouting along on the beaches soon.
The only Minister of Interior who had the guts to demolish overnight such illegal campsites/structures was Mr Veniamin but, after him, demolition of structures, once set up, are rarely demolished.
So, we bring to the attention of the local authorities/Town Planning/District Officers and the Environmental Department to examine this phenomenon and act now.