Cyprus Mail

Paphos Municipality wins case over wholesale market ownership

Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the Paphos Municipal Wholesale Market “definitively and irrevocably” belongs to the town’s municipality.

The ruling draws a line under a 30-year saga relating to the land on which the wholesale market was built.

In 1991, the Paphos Municipality expropriated 55,000 square metres of land for the creation of the wholesale market, paying the land’s owner £C247,000 plus interest, pursuant to a ruling by the Supreme Court at the time. The market was opened in 1996.

However, in 2006, the land’s previous owner filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court demanding the return of the entirety of the property after part of the 1991 plans had never been completed.

He requested the expropriation be revoked, claiming that “the purpose of the expropriation was not achieved.”

In 2011, then Paphos Mayor Savvas Vergas settled out of court, agreeing to return a total of 21,125 square metres, divided into 22 plots, provided that the land’s previous owner pay €170,802.

This agreement was not upheld by current Mayor Phedonas Phedonos, however, who, according to the Paphos Municipality, “upon assuming his duties in 2015 made it clear he had no intention of abiding by the agreement.”

The municipality then retuned the €170,802 in 2017, causing the judicial process to resume. The court found against the municipality in 2018, prompting another appeal.

They said that Phedonos, “sensing that even the land’s division into plots, the number of which was constantly increasing, serves multiple private interests, vigorously insisted on filing an appeal to overturn the decision.”

In its final decision, the court accepted the municipality’s claim and ordered the land’s previous owner pay costs.

It said it “validates the municipality’s refusal to return the property which was expropriated and upon which the municipality erected, inaugurated, and continues to use its Municipal Wholesale Market.”

According to the Land Registry, the current value of the land on which the market sits is €9.5 million, with the 21,125 square metres claimed by its previous owner worth €4.5m.

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