MEMBERS of Paphos old town association have said they would block any move to close to traffic the only open thoroughfare to the municipal market area, and have sent a letter to the mayor saying the move was “utter madness”.
Kyriacos Kyriacou, head of the association told the Cyprus Mail on Thursday, that plans to close the road which runs in front of cafes and the market in the near future are vehemently opposed.
“We will stop any more work around the municipal market as the road which is open is the only way to bring traffic to the area. They want to close this road as well which doesn’t make any sense at all,” he said.
Local businesses say they are at their wits end as almost the entire area of central Paphos has been dug up, roads are closed and impassable and even access for pedestrians is limited in many areas.
Major upgrading work in the centre of Paphos is due to be completed in time for the town’s title of European Capital of Culture 2017 and Paphos Mayor, Phedonas Phedonos, asked residents and business owners to be patient as work got underway at the beginning of the year.
Large parts of Paphos town are due to be upgraded, with numerous roads being dug up, new pipes laid and other infrastructure being put in place. They are part of the ten major infrastructure and development projects currently underway in Paphos. They have a price tag of €26.2 million.
One shop owner said: “I am so worried, I have hardly any customers and I don’t know how they expect us to keep going, this is usually our only busy period for trade. I am crazy with worry and have barely any income.”
She added: “They don’t help us at all and now they want to close the only road left where people can pass by, this is utter madness.”
Kyriacou agreed: “We are almost dead, there is a tiny trickle of customers and we are insisting that they finish all of the streets which are dug up and impassable, and open areas of accessibility for people. We have sent a letter to the mayor and we will meet with him.”
Kyriacou said that the plans which the members of the association object to, include opening a small part of Thermopilon Street, which had been shut and dug up, and is a considerable distance from the market, to facilitate traffic heading from Chlorakas into Paphos town, and at the same time close the main street running in front of the market.
“This means that traffic coming in all directions will be navigated through lots of twists and turns in the centre of Paphos and will all end up meeting outside the road where the petrol stations are on Evagoras Pallikarides street, which leads down from Mesoyi.”
The businessman said that the move makes no sense and will then mean that it’s not only people that will be navigated away from the old town, but also busses, hire cars, locals and tourists.
“This will be a heart attack for Paphos,” he said. “We are going to be very tough and clear with them [the municipality]. There can’t be one more mistake, or they will force us to close for good and that will be that.”
A spokesman for Paphos municipality confirmed that the mayor would be meeting at Palia Ilektriki cultural centre to discuss a number of issues facing businesses in the area, along with other interested parties.
He also confirmed that the major upgrading works in the town are proceeding on schedule.