Attica coast development a worry

Authorities have been caught unprepared by the mass flow of people from Athens who have set up home in the coastal areas of Attica and, as a result, the social services available have been severely stretched, according to a report due to be made public today. A study carried out by the National Center for Social Research (EKKE) has found that a number of areas, such as Kalyvia, Loutsa, Rafina and Oropos, have become places where Athenians live full time rather than just have summer homes. «Seven out of the 28 coastal municipalities are gradually starting to change from being vacation-based communites to areas of main residence,» EKKE researcher Frai Kamoutsi told Kathimerini. «In some places, the main residences and holiday homes are being developed in tandem; these include Nea Peramos, Anavyssos, Palaia Fokaia and Markopoulo.» Kamoutsi said that EKKE’s research shows that most of the people who have set up their permanent home in the coastal areas of Attica have done so because they are in search of a better quality of life and are not just retirees looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. «Much to our surprise, we discovered that many of the newcomers to the coastal areas of Attica are people who belong to productive age groups,» said Kamoutsi. EKKE is calling for the government to learn lessons from the rapid development in the Mesogeia area, northeast of Athens, and ensure that the proper infrastructure is put in place. «To start with, they have to confront the existing problems such as illegal construction, lack of infrastructure and public spaces,» said Kamoutsi. «Secondly, there has to be planning for the creation of social infrastructure, such as medical centers, schools and transport.»