Athens Mayor, Europa Nostra Slam Bill Affecting Plaka, Call for Public Discussion
Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis and citizens’ movement Europa Nostra have joined the residents of the Plaka district, calling on the government to put a stop to amendments of an environment ministry bill that foresee change of property use.
Residents, environmental groups, diaspora Greeks and Athens associations describe the bill as lacking transparency and are up in arms over legislation that if put into effect will have dire consequences for the traditional Athens borough.
In a letter to Deputy Development minister Nikos Tagaras, Mr. Kaminis calls on the government to withdraw the provisions of the bill on property use that apply for Plaka and Exarcheia.
“Any intervention to the shaky legal framework of land use in these Athens areas cannot be attempted without serious preparation and prior consultation with the municipality,” the mayor said, adding that, “such changes affect not only the traditional settlement of Plaka, but also the entire historical and commercial center of Athens“.
At the same time, citizens’ movement for the protection of Europe’s cultural and natural heritage Europa Nostra has also expressed its concern over the recent bill in a letter to the development ministry, saying it is imperative that existing legislation on land use applicable to Plaka remain unchanged.
Europa Nostra awarded the Greek government in 1983 with the Medal of Heritage Conservation, recognizing the cultural and historic significance of the Plaka district not only for Greece, but also for the whole of Europe.
If implemented the draft law will in effect cancel the land use regulations ensuring balanced residential and commercial use of property in Plaka, adopted in the late 1970s.
The response came after the Plaka Residents’ Initiative Committee sent a letter to Environment minister Yiannis Maniatis earlier this week, warning that planned amendments to the bill will inevitably lead to the destruction of Athens’ primary tourist district.