Church told to stop construction project

Thessaloniki forest authorities have stepped in to stop the Orthodox Church from constructing a home for the elderly on a 3.2-hectare site next to an expanse of green land in the suburbs of the northern city. The project to build the retirement home in the Panorama area became the subject of a judicial investigation last week after suspicions about the manner in which the public land ended up in the hands of the Church. It was revealed over the weekend that the Thessaloniki Forest Directorate has intervened to stop any building from taking place, saying that the necessary planning procedures have not been followed. The government insists that no laws were broken in the transfer of the public land. Agricultural Development Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said on Friday that the construction of the home would not affect the area’s natural environment.

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