In view of the 10-storey COCOMAT hotel built and opened on Falirou Street and the planned construction of another massive-scale hotel on Misaraliotou Street (pre-approval for which was given for this by the Municipality of Athens and by a decision of the Ministry of Culture), ELLET started working with the Acropolis-Makrigianni SOS citizens’ movement to protect the urban and cultural environment of the Acropolis and the Makrigiannis area from the construction of tall, massive-scale, buildings and hotels.
Despite repeated notifications made by the competent UNESCO committees (eg 1968, 2004) and the existence of relevant case law but due to the absence of a clear institutional protection framework (building height, plot ratios, land use), and the amendment of the general Building Regulations in the midst of the 2012 financial crisis (New Buildings Regulations 2012). Authorities mistakenly misinterpreted of the existing institutional framework thereby placing both the residential areas of Makrigianni and Koukaki and the emblematic historical landscape of the “Acropolis” in serious danger of being irreversible damage.
A few examples of the successes citizens groups have achieved in response to this challenge:
- with the support of citizens about 50,000 signatures were collected on the AVAAZ platform https://secure.avaaz.org/el/community_petitions/_AKROPOLIMAKRYGIANNI_SOS/
- Following our appeal in May 2019 the Council of State cancelled the Ministerial Decision by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. This resulted in the drawal of the pre-approval given by the Municipality of Athens.
- The Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy in a change of policy, will be issuing a Presidential Decree and not a Legislative Regulation (which is not subject to constitutional review by the Council of State) as previously announced, following our pressure.
- the huge coverage in both the international and domestic press and media.
We will continue our campaign until the revised Presidential Decree is in place. As well as including regulations on the heights of buildings, it should will also mandate low Building Ratios and will designate Land Use as “General Residence” to prevent this important part of the Historic Center being turned into a district of hotels.
In addition, in cooperation with the Mayor of Athens, we are trying to ensure that the Makrigianni area is included in the Municipality’s “Long Walk” project, and to address the serious problem of tourist buses driving, stopping and parking as we have submitted proposals for traffic regulations in this area of the Municipality.