Cyprus Mail

Interior minister announces fast-track building permits

A planning or building permit will be readily available between 10-20 days as part of a new move to cut bureaucracy, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Wednesday.

In a press conference, Nouris said the fast-track would begin as of October 1. Those who submit the application in writing will have the permit ready in 20 days while those who apply online can have the permit in up to 10 days.

The current procedure granting planning or building permits is exceedingly difficult and time consuming Nouris said, whether it concerns a multi-million project or a simple residence.

Priority for the government is the average citizen where it appears 62 per cent of planning permit applications concern the construction of a duplex which on average takes around 18 months to process.

As of October 1, applicants can submit their applications to all district offices of the planning department as well as the four main municipalities – those of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Limassol.

“Our efforts to simplify the procedure of issuing a permit does not stop here,” Nouris said and pledged his ministry would prepare a bill which will reform the method used to calculate the fees for the permit. Rather than the current complicated system, he said, it would be based on square metres.

It is hard to say why it took so long to get this necessary reform “but we leave the mindset of the past behind us and move forward,” the minister told reporters.

The new efforts will be under constant vigilance from the technical services and the district planning departments, Nouris said.

More importantly, a programme is being prepared that will publish data on how long it takes for permits to be issued from various authorities so everyone can be reviewed.

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