Cyprus Mail

Paphos Bar Street ‘slum’ clean up

Illegal building being torn down on 'Bar St' (Bejay Browne)

BULLDOZERS and other machinery moved into the main tourist strip of Paphos on Monday morning to commence a massive clean-up of the area which has seen a steady decline in business over the last decade.
Mayor of Paphos, Phedonas Phedonos, told the Cyprus Mail that the intention is to beautify and upgrade the area of Ayiou Antoniou Street – locally known as ‘Bar Street’ – and its side roads, which will also help to encourage the growth of new businesses.
Once a popular haunt for holiday makers and locals, the area has since deteriorated into a ramshackle street, with many shops lying empty and visitor numbers plummeting.
Phedonos told the Cyprus Mail: “The lawlessness on the part of some that prevailed for decades in Paphos was an opportunity for many illegal buildings to appear and helped to create the image of a slum.”
Illegal constructions were torn down, old satellite dishes removed, as well as overgrown rubbish, broken glass and old bits of furniture.

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos inspecting the work on Bar Street (Bejay Browne)
Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos inspecting the work on Bar Street (Bejay Browne)
“Bar Street was very popular in the 1980s, that was its heyday,” the mayor said. “But too many illegal buildings have been constructed without permission and Bar Street is not a street of a European country, but is comparable to a slum in an undeveloped country.”
He said that cheap materials and poor constructions have added to the general overview of an untidy and unkempt street which does nothing for the image of Paphos.
The clean-up campaign also includes the fitting of proper lighting for the ancient monuments in the area.
Phedonas added that the move is a concerted effort on the part of Paphos Municipality to indicate to owners and tenants in the area that the municipality will intervene and remove illegal constructions.
“Next week, where needed, we will paint the walls. The municipality will pay for this from our budget,” he said.
“This year we are expecting 1.1 million visitors and it’s very important to give them options,” he said.
He said that strip clubs which operated in the area have been closed and more family friendly entertainment is the goal.
“We don’t want to have only bars and clubs along here, we also want restaurants, and a variety of shops in order to attract the whole of the family and all sorts of people, young and old.”
Public health inspector Christos Christou, the head of public health service of the municipality, said that a number of areas were a danger to public health, and rats were multiplying quickly. He said that rubbish is being removed so this will no longer be an issue.
“More green areas and flowers are also being added to beautify the street,” he said.
Lefteris Demokritos, whose family-run restaurant ‘Demokritos’ has been on Bar Street for the last 44 years, welcomed the move.
“It’s very good and it’s about time. Everyone has made mistakes, including me. Now we are complaining a little bit because it’s in the tourist season, but it will be finished soon.”
Demokritos had to remove a small illegal take-away he had built at the side of his restaurant.
“The mayor has promised me that I can remake it with stone, and we will make it legal. He is going to do nice things here.”
The mayor said that the clean-up campaign would be finished in 15 days.

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