NEWS

Expert picks holes in plan for Attica

An ambitious government plan to regulate development in Attica does not lay enough emphasis on curbing building in densely built areas or on stamping out illegal construction, according to a town-planning expert who helped devise the preceding town plan for Athens more than a decade ago. The most serious flaw in the scheme, which was heralded by Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias on Monday, is that it does not impose restrictions on construction in areas that are already overdeveloped, including many parts of the capital, Dimitris Economou, professor of town planning at the University of Thessaly, told Kathimerini. «There should only be very limited development in the capital and not in areas where illegal building has flourished already,» Economou said, adding that demolition of existing illegal structures should get under way as soon as possible. He also called for a plan that looks beyond the city itself. «Metropolitan Athens now stretches as far as Thebes, Corinth and Halkida,» he said, adding that «the absence of any unified plan» had resulted in «distortions» such as the excessively developed area of Oinofyta, where industrial pollution has infected local ground water. Another area that should not be touched, according to Economou, is Mesogeia in eastern Attica. The construction of Athens International Airport and the Attiki Odos highway, and the development frenzy that followed these major projects, is more than enough, he said. «It should stop here – there should be no more extension of the local plan, otherwise we will have the same conditions in Mesogeia as in Athens,» he remarked. The most positive aspect of Souflias’s plan, according to the professor, is the prospect of an extended metro system with a total of eight lines.