A Thessaloniki court canceled the construction permits of six apartment buildings near the northern Greek city due to their close proximity to a petrol refinery yesterday, about a year after building work started on the homes, sources said. The court ruled that the block of buildings, about 160 meters away from the Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) oil distillery, was unsafe and failed to comply with industrial laws. The legal action was initiated by HELPE after its warnings to residents and local town-planning officials were ignored, according to the company. The void building permits relate to six uncompleted four-story buildings that were to house at least 17 families. The mayor of Eleftherios Kordelios, Stathis Lafazanidis, said this problem exists in various parts of Thessaloniki. He wants compensation from the government on behalf of the families. He did not, however, explain why the council’s town-planning services issued the permit in the first place.