By Bejay Browne
DESPITE AN ORDER banning them from their home which has been condemned as unsafe, a defiant Paphos family of four is still living at a stricken development in Armou. They say they have no alternative and are looking to the state for compensation.
The plight of Simon Phillips and his family and other buyers was first highlighted in the Sunday Mail almost two and a half years ago. The luxury development built in 2004 is slipping down the hillside, having been constructed on land locals had long warned was unsafe.
The Phillips’ family are now the only permanent inhabitants and continue to defy an order banning them from their home, saying they have no alternative but to stay put.
“This is our home and it is bought and paid for. I have been told that I don’t qualify for state aid and even with reduced rents, we wouldn’t be able to afford to live anywhere else,” Phillips said:
“After all, we have a four bedroom house which was supposed to be a home for my family. All of our money has gone into this house.”
Four of the homeowners at the development are British and have described how their dreams of owning a home in Cyprus turned sour more than two years ago. A spate of bad weather on top of a persistent water leak caused substantial earth movement which badly damaged the houses in the development. Many houses looked as if they had been hit by an earthquake.
Phillips and his family are now the only permanent residents and say daily life is a massive strain, especially for the children.
“My 14-year-old daughter is afraid to be on her own in the house and the situation is obviously affecting her badly. We can’t have friends over – neither our kids’ friends nor ours – as it’s not safe and it’s embarrassing the way we have been forced to live.”
Built by JNM developers a decade ago, all of the houses have serious structural problems, from slanting floors, to the partial collapse of stairs, walls, swimming pools and patio areas. Huge gaping holes surround Phillip’s house and outside drains are exposed in one garden and retaining walls have split.
JNM has never responded to any requests for a comment on the Armou homes, despite repeated telephone calls and emails since the Mail first reported on the case two and a half years ago.
Phillips bought his house in June 2008. Just four years later, his garden, pool area and exterior retaining walls were covered by gaping holes and wide cracks.
A report by the chairman of Paphos’ Architects and Civil Engineers Association, Chrysostomos Italos was completed in June 2012. Italos places the blame firmly on the developer.
A number of the homeowners, including Phillips, have issued court proceedings against the developer.