Urban development zones in the countryside are being reviewed, the Minister of the Interior, Nikos Nouris, announced on Friday, after his meeting with the President of the Union of Communities, Andreas Kitromilidis. The aim of the review is to modernize urban planning zones so that they can support the modern needs of the countryside, the Minister said.
“Today we are announcing the revision of the countryside policy statement. In other words, the process of revising and modifying urban planning zones in the countryside begins, with the aim of modernizing them and of course giving them the ability to support the modern needs of social, political and economic development of the countryside”, noted Mr. Nouris.
The review covers planning zones in 36 geographical regions and will be completed in three phases, with the first starting on December 9 and lasting four months, followed by subsequent phases at dates to be announced, with the intention of completing the process within 2023.
“In this way we create the conditions for urban activity, economic and cultural, in our countryside,” he said, adding that this “is perfectly consistent with the targeted actions and the holistic approach we have to the revitalization of our countryside, so that to prosper and of course to deal with, among other things, the problems of urban sprawl, which are currently plaguing it”.
According to the Ministry, the requests should be submitted to the “Ippodamos” Information System, while the local authorities are obliged to give the citizens the opportunity to discuss the modifications that will be sought and then to publicize the final recommendations that they will submit to the competent authorities. instruments for study and evaluation.
Emergency financial assistance to the residents of communities with an altitude greater than 600m
During the meeting, the Minister also announced the decision of the Council of Ministers, dated November 9, to grant a one-time emergency aid to all residents of communities with an altitude of more than 600m, who are beneficiaries of the allowance in question in 2022.
The emergency allowance amounts to 50% of the existing allowance, in order to help alleviate the problems faced by the residents of these areas.
9,740 households benefit from the plan. The additional expenditure will amount to €2.6 million, and the total expenditure to €7.8 million.
Added 7 communities to “mountainous and remote areas”
Also, as the Minister mentioned, exceptionally, the Ministry of the Interior decided to add seven more communities to the Support Plan for the inhabitants of mountainous areas with an altitude higher than 600m.
These communities have so far not been included in the plan, as their residential zone is at an altitude of less than 600m, but “the specific areas have a geographical specificity, they are surrounded by other communities that have already been included in the plan and due to their geographical characteristics it was decided to include them in the plan, starting from the 1st of the year”, noted Mr. Nouris.
“With this decision, 1,092 residents of the specific communities will benefit, and the additional expenditure that will be required will be €250,000”.
The communities are Mesana, Monagri, Doros, Kedares, Limnatis, Kapileio and Agios Ambrosios Limassol.
Retirement Compensation of Community Heads
Mr. Nouris also informed that from January 1st, the pension compensation of the community leaders will be fully restored, at the levels of 2013, following the request of the Union of Communities. The Council of Ministers had decided on August 31 the gradual reinstatement of the compensation within the next three years.
However, given the “difficult economic climate” and wider arrangements restoring pay to pre-crisis levels in 2013, it was decided to fully restore from the new year.
“I am pleased to say, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, that we have decided today that we will go right ahead with the full restoration of pensioners’ compensation,” he said.
The additional expenditure amounts to €610,000, and is expected to be covered by funds from the Ministry of the Interior. In addition, it is recalled that a request for pension monthly and 13th compensation to the community leaders and the occupied communities, equal to 50% of the pension compensation of the community leaders of the free regions, has already been granted.
Inclusion of the communities of Mammari, Denia and Trullo in the “Mountainous and Disadvantaged Areas” category
The community leaders Mammari and Trullon also attended the discussion, who, together with the community leader Denias, requested their upgrading from the “Critical Areas” category to the “Mountainous and Disadvantaged Areas” category. The Minister announced that their request was accepted, as they are the only communities located entirely within the Dead Zone.
With the upgrade, the communities will benefit from higher financial support. For example, a family of three is entitled to a maximum aid of €40,000.
“The purpose and goal is not only the financial benefits”, said the Minister, but “to enable the attraction of especially young people, who wish or will wish to stay and build their own residence in our three communities that are within the neutral zone. With obvious reasons to increase the population density”.
“The government, and especially the President of the Republic, shows particular sensitivity regarding the issues and problems facing the Cypriot countryside and of course our communities”, said the Minister, adding that “it is in this context that we have recently reviewed the whole of the problems, which were either pending or waiting for a settlement, and I am today pleased to announce our decisions on all the pending cases that we had before the Ministry of the Interior and which concern the interests of the communities and of course the citizens who live in the countryside ».
For his part, the President of the Union of Cyprus Communities, Andreas Kitromelidis, said that he is quite pleased with what the Minister of the Interior said today. “They have been constant requests of the Union of Communities for several years and that is why I am obliged to express my satisfaction and the satisfaction of the Union of Communities of Cyprus for today’s announcements that we heard from Mr. Minister”.