Former Debenhams in Paphos threatened with forced closure

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ERA department stores, formerly Debenhams Cyprus, have appealed a Paphos court decision ordering the company to terminate the use of the Korivos Shopping Centre situated opposite the Stelios Kyriakides stadium.

The CTC Group-owned ERA store was handed a final ultimatum by the Paphos Municipality demanding that the company conforms with the court decision to obtain a ‘final approval’ for the building, or have their operation suspended, the said in an announcement on Thursday.

The store has been operating since 2001. ERA said it has 2 million visits a year and employs 200 people.

The municipality said that “ERA have been illegally operating a department store with arbitrary large-scale additions, both indoors and in the parking lot, for which a criminal case is pending before the Paphos District Court, despite repeated warnings from the Municipality to restore its legitimacy”.

Earlier in the month, the district court issued an ultimatum to ERA, to obtain the necessary special permits and licences from the municipality and the relevant authorities, within a two-month period, starting September 14.

In addition to the decree, the district court ruled against the companies, Ermes Department Stores Plc, Woolworth (Cyprus) Properties Plc and their directors, in relation to the possession, use and operation of a building without the necessary permits issued by the competent authorities and the Paphos municipality.

Furthermore, the court ruled against the defendants for converting part of a designated parking area into an exhibition space, without prior approval. The Paphos court also imposed fines on each defendant.

Firing back, ERA issued a statement shifting the blame for not having a ‘final approval’ for the building to the municipality itself, citing red tape delays.

ERA said on Friday that it has appealed the court decision, noting that the company will follow all the appropriate procedures, claiming all legal remedies and legal rights.

“The process in relation to the final approval for the building has been underway for a long time, but was not completed for reasons that are not due to fault or misunderstanding of the legal obligations of our companies, but to the handling of the whole issue by the Municipality of Paphos,” said ERA’s announcement.