Plans to develop former royal estate back on table

Plans to develop the former royal estate at Tatoi, a short drive from the northern Athenian suburb of Kifissia, are coming back to life. Sources have told Kathimerini that Environment Ministry officials are once more working on the study compiled in 2012 by the now-defunct Athens Regulatory Plan Organization. The aim is to protect the estate as well as the buildings, to promote the environmental and historical dimension of the site, and to ensure its financial independence.

According to the same sources, the experts who carried out the study are holding regular meetings with a working group that brings together all the ministries involved in the project. The final decision, of course, lies with the Environment Ministry, which is responsible for spatial planning and forestland. But the Culture Ministry, which is responsible for listed buildings, the Ministry of Agricultural Development, which owns the land, and the Finance Ministry also have a say.

The aim over the coming weeks is to have a joint-ministerial decision that will approve the new land uses for the estate and its buildings. The study foresees the development of the Tatoi Estate’s 2,355 of the 4,200 hectares (the rest of the area falls with the protected zone of the Parnitha National Park). Experts have given priority to the historical dimension of the area, without disregarding its current use as a recreational suburban destination.

Among the immediate priorities laid out in the plan are fire safety measures, the restoration of 49 structures, the organization of recreation areas, the restoration of farmland and the introduction of new uses, including restaurants and souvenir shops, that will make this a sustainable project. The study also proposes measures to revive the butter factory, olive groves and vineyards.

The most interesting part of the study concerns the transformation of the summer palace into a museum on the monarchy or the history of the place (although 40 years have passed since the abolition of the monarchy, the issue still seems to trigger reactions among many Greeks). Experts deem that the objects left behind during the 1991 removal could become the core of an interesting collection.

The Culture Ministry officials have thorough studies on the restoration of all the buildings as well as the palace garden. However, since 2003, when the estate came under the control of the state, only four buildings have been restored.

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