Staff and trainees of the Christos Stelios Ioannou Foundation for people with special needs, on Thursday are set to protest the construction of asylum service headquarters next to their premises.

The protestors aim to prevent the contractor from starting works which involve the felling of close to two hundred trees planted 25 years ago, at the site.

Supported by environmentalists, adults, who as children had planted the saplings in a ceremony attended by the then President of the Republic, are to attend.

In view of the planned event, a meeting was held on Tuesday at the department of public works with all services involved, as well as representatives from the foundation.

No logging permit has been issued by the forestry department to date for cutting the trees, according to a report by Philenews.

A total of 179 trees out of 210 are to be felled, 53 of which require permission from the forestry department.

Under instructions from the agriculture ministry the issuance of any permits has been temporarily frozen. According to the report the minister had been asked to carry out an assessment on whether more trees could be protected or if an alternate green space could be found where trees can be planted.

Once the study has been conducted the forestry department will decide the compensatory measures in order to proceed with the issuance of a permit. The asylum service requested that efforts be made to cut down as few trees as possible.

Meanwhile, the Municipality of Strovolos, as well as the forestry department, in letters sent a year before the decision, had disagreed with buildings being constructed on the forested grounds and requested that alternative be secured.

The works had been expected to begin mid-2023 and the relevant consultation procedures had been curtailed.

In the intervening period efforts were made to purchase a building to house the services but these proved unsuccessful.

As of Wednesday, June 5, the site has become the property of the project contractor. Plans drawn up by the planning department, provide for a study, construction, and maintenance of asylum and immigration services and census department offices, for a 12-year period.