Court approves army homes in forest

A ruling by the country’s highest court yesterday allowed the construction of 36 residential properties to continue near a military camp on Mount Hymettus, rejecting complaints by a local conservation group that the works are being carried out in a protected area. The ruling by the Council of State deemed that the current building activity was taking place within a military zone and therefore could continue despite the fact that construction is not permitted in the area in which the camp is located. The move was criticized by the court’s honorary vice president, Michalis Dekleris, who spoke to Skai of an «erroneous decision.» The mayor of Vyronas, Nikos Hardalias, who has lobbied hard for the protection of the mountain from arsonists and contractors, said that fresh appeals would be lodged against the construction of the maisonettes, destined to be the homes of army officers. According to Hardalias, the construction of the maisonettes on a plot of some 2,000 square meters was launched without a proper permit. Meanwhile the Environment and Public Works Ministry unveiled the final draft of a presidential decree, ostensibly for the protection of Mount Hymettus. According to sources, the new decree enlarges the high-protection zone to 9,160 hectares from 7,580 hectares. But, in a provision that apparently contradicts the spirit of the decree, the new draft reportedly allows the construction of four snack bars in the high-protection area, Zone A.