Cyprus Mail

Traffic free village centre under threat

File photo: Kouklia village centre

By Bejay Browne

RESIDENTS and business owners in a Paphos village are appealing to officials to allow the usual closure of the centre to traffic during the summer months to go ahead.

Following a complaint to the authorities by a local resident that the practice has a negative impact on his life, police are carrying out investigations which will lead to a decision which could go either way.

Kouklia is an unspoiled traditional Cypriot village, the heart of which is full of tavernas and cafes. Locals say it comes to life during the summer months and provides an attraction for visitors and much needed income for businesses.

During this period eateries are usually permitted to put out tables and chairs in the village square and surrounding roads, music and food are on offer and a number of events also take place.

Muktar of Kouklia Michael Solonos stressed that the matter lies in the hands of the police.

“Only the police can take a decision to allow the closure of a road or not; they go through a procedure and then answer any requests. I believe that there have been complaints before for various reasons, but this year the complaint has come from a resident of the area which we close, through his lawyer.”

He continued: “This is quite a serious complaint. He has said that the closure and noise levels affect his life, he cannot access his property freely and the late hours are a nuisance. It’s a personal complaint.”

The community council has sent a letter to the chief of police and proposed that he should examine the complaint and make a final decision.

Between June and September the centre of Kouklia village has been closed to traffic for the last seven years. This is a time when the area is awash with overseas and local visitors and businesses profit. This year could spell disaster for the area, with many businesses being forced to close if police refuse to grant the necessary permissions, said resident John Cools.

Cools is so concerned that he has set up a Facebook page to highlight the issues.

“I live close to Kouklia and spend most of my time there. If the decision is taken not to permit the closure of the roads, some of the businesses will go bankrupt. A number have been opened by young couples with no cash reserves.”

Solonos said: “For the last seven years we have managed to attract many tourists here, kids can play freely in the street as there’s no traffic and many venues offer free food. But we don’t have any authorisation over the decision and I don’t know what the outcome will be.”

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