NEWS

No easing of building restrictions

A draft presidential decree that would have eased building restrictions on the Aegean island of Sifnos has been rejected as illegal by Greece’s highest administrative court, in a decision made public yesterday. The Council of State found that the draft decree violated a special town-planning survey carried out in 1993 on several of the Cycladic Islands, including Sifnos, without any real justification, apart from the argument that residents and local authorities were unhappy with existing building restrictions. The decree would have made it much easier to build on Sifnos, an increasingly popular tourist destination, by slashing to 0.2 hectares the minimum size of plots on which buildings could be erected outside designated settlements, and by allowing construction 30 meters from the seashore, in certain cases, as opposed to the current 100-meter limit. The court also found that the decree did not contain any provisions for the protection of highly fertile agricultural land from development.