New planning system for development on British bases in Cyprus

The Sovereign Base Areas Administration has announced that a new planning system to allow the development of property and land in the ‘Bases’ will launch on Monday 16th May.

Developed between the UK and Republic of Cyprus Government in consultation with environmental and business groups as well as local communities, both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot, the Non-Military Development (NMD) planning system means the lifting of many restrictions on land and property development within the Bases.

It establishes planning zones and policies similar to those in the Republic of Cyprus, except in areas related to military and security needs. It continues to safeguard the rights of all land and property owners no matter where they reside and to limit development in or near areas of environmental sensitivity.

Approximately 50% of all land in the Bases are areas of special environmental significance – including the Akrotiri Salt Lake, Lady’s Mile Beach, marshland and bird nesting sites, and will have strict limits on the types of development that can take place.

Announcing the launch at a special event at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Major General Rob Thomson, Administrator of the Bases, and Commander British Forces Cyprus, said:

“I am delighted that we will soon be able to allow more development opportunities in the Bases, while safeguarding the UK’s operational work to enhance both Cypriot and regional security. Getting here has involved a lot of hard work and it is great that landowners will soon be able to benefit.”

Dependent on environmental and security concerns and the planning zone the property is located in, NMD will allow for a range of development and freedoms, including:

 

  • Construction of houses, shops, schools, restaurants, and light industrial facilities.
  • Increased business activity.
  • For the first time third-country nationals in addition to Cypriot nationals will be able to own property and reside in, or establish and operate a business in, the SBAs.

 

Stephen Lillie, British High Commissioner to Cyprus, said:

“The implementation of the non-military development agreement is a huge milestone in our bilateral relationship and will allow development opportunities for thousands of Cypriots living in the Bases. I take pride in the fact that we have worked together with our Cypriot friends to deliver a change that will have a real and positive impact on people’s prosperity.”

A statutory objections process will also run for four months after NMD is launched, and will provide an opportunity to propose amendments to the new planning system.

Clare Simpson, Chief Officer of the Bases, said:

“Throughout this whole process it has been essential to ensure that all views and opinions be considered – including the local communities and environmental groups. I am delighted that we are now in a position to be able to launch the new planning system and we will continue to work closely with local communities throughout the objections phase and as we begin implementation.”

The new system also includes legislation and guidance which will gradually ease the process for establishing a business in the SBAs (see below Notes to Editors).

Full details on the new system will be made available to the public online at the SBAA website, and Department of Town Planning and Housing of the Republic of Cyprus website. They will also be available at various locations including the SBAA Area Offices.