PLANS which are underway to upgrade Tala village square in Paphos at a cost of over a million euros, will be presented to the public at an event due to be held at the weekend.
According to a local councillor, Cathy Delaney, the project is long overdue and upgrading plans have stalled for the last 30 or so years.
“The square looks tired and the work is long overdue; this is something which has been planned for a long time,” she told the Cyprus Mail.
The architect responsible for the project will make his presentation in both Greek and English at the new church hall in Tala at 5.30pm on Saturday July 16, said Delaney and residents are being invited to attend.
“The architect will be on hand to answer any questions people may have,” she said.
Work at the popular village which is home to a large British expat community, got underway around a month ago, as diggers moved in.
Some residents have questioned the work starting in the middle of the summer season, but Delaney explained that funding had taken a long time to secure and the work needed to start.
“It’s never a good time to start this kind of thing and if we had commenced in the winter, progress could have been hindered by heavy rainfall. This council has been trying to get this passed for four and a half years and it was finally agreed. We had hoped to secure EU funding, but this didn’t happen.”
Instead, noted the Tala councillor, a larger proportion of the bill will be covered by the government and the rest will be paid for by Tala.
“This is a two-phase programme, the first includes pedestrianising the village centre and the second phase will improve the road network system.”
This will see the creation of a one-way system around the village, she said. Phase two will not get underway until the completion of phase one to ensure minimal disruption, she said.
“The streets are so narrow around that in a few places if you meet a vehicle coming the other way, one of you has to reverse.”
Some of the roads will be resurfaced, others will be blocked off, and others will give access, she said. In addition, a couple of small mini roundabouts will be created to improve the traffic flow.
The original plans are more than 30 years old and previously included the creation of an underground space which would take traffic under the square, parking spaces were also suggested.
“This would have allowed traffic to continue but underneath the village square. This idea was rejected by the council as the costs were prohibitive,” she said.
The new plans have been drawn up in the last four years and present a modern but traditional face to the village, said the councillor. A uniform look will be created with the use of pergolas outside businesses to tidy up the area and rid it of the jumble of different facades, said Delaney.
“We are pedestrianising the square as it was felt by many that it is not a pleasant place to go and eat, for example, whilst you’re sitting at your table, exhaust fumes cover you. Having parking and traffic in the centre is not at all relaxing.”
There will also be a feature water fountain in the centre of the square, which is similar to one at Limassol Marina.
“We wanted to ensure that although work is underway, businesses in the area can continue to trade and so access is a priority. The work will take eight or nine month to complete, weather permitting.”
The new plans were also previously displayed at the local community board offices and are now available to view at talanews.blogspot.com, under the photos tab.