The Cyprus Architects’ Association on Wednesday condemned Limassol municipality’s decision to grant a tender to a private company for the revamp of the municipal gardens, requesting the intervention of the interior ministry to stop the works.

The association expressed its regret for “the disrespect shown towards the science of architecture and architects themselves”, stressing that designing a public space must always take into account quality of life, and be seen as a public good.

“Unfortunately, interventions both from the architects’ association and the Cyprus technical chamber (Etek) and other bodies are ignored by the Limassol municipality, which has been avoiding cooperation and ignoring the scientific potential of the space,” it added.

The municipal gardens are currently undergoing a €1.7 revamp sponsored by private donations, which involves building a new children’s playground and resurfacing of pathways. Century-old protected trees are also under threat, critics say.

The architects spoke of the destruction of the gardens through the work already being carried out, which according to them “highlights issues such as the inadequate consultation with the public, the absence of planning for public space projects and the scope of local authority discretion when it comes to the allocation of money coming from private sponsorship”.

They added that the fact this was a unanimous decision by the municipal council does not justify a deviation from the relevant legislation and international recommendations regarding the way in which public decisions affecting the quality of life and wellbeing of the public are made at local government level.

“Modern, quality architecture saves resources, facilitates daily activities and functions, improves human psychology, the environment and creates more attractive, productive and sustainable cities,” the statement said, remarking that the competent authorities do not seem to understand this.

Instead, they “systematically discredit architectural science in the implementation procedures of public projects and overlook that projects of public benefit should be studied and commissioned with particular sensitivity, care and always in accordance with Etek regulations,” it said.

The architects’ association finally called for the immediate intervention of the interior ministry to suspend the works, “putting an end to the slippages observed which, due to ignorance, indifference, or the obsessions of certain people, is perpetuated to the detriment of the quality of the municipal gardens”.