Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov instructed the country’s construction control directorate on December 31 2012 to issue an order suspending clearance work at a planned construction site near the seaside town of Nessebur after conservation organisations alleged that a protected area was being violated.
An investigation has been ordered into whether construction permits are in order.
Speaking at a hastily-convened news conference, Agriculture and Food Minister Miroslav Naidenov said that no land in the protected area had been sold, in spite of allegations by the For the Nature coalition that several hectares of land had been sold in spite of being of the European Natura 2000 conservation network.
He said that the deal dated back to 2007. An interdepartmental commission would be set up t investigate the matter, with the participation of NGOs to ensure transparency, Naidenov was quoted by local media as saying.
According to Naidenov, the entire deal was worth about 1.14 million leva, including the state fee for taking the area out of the forest fund, compensatory afforestation and valuation by an independent valuator.
The National Construction Control Directorate said that there was no construction in the area and the builders had stopped site clearance.
Naidenov said that the town plan of 2007, the area had been set aside for construction.
Milka Gencheva, head of the National Construction Control Directorate, told the news conference that a construction permit had been issued on December 21.
The plan envisaged the construction of residential buildings in four stages. The first stage included 36 residential buildings, the second stage 32 buildings, the third stage 16 and the fourth stage 38 buildings.
The investigation had until January 4 2013 to establish whether all construction papers were in line with the law, she said. The investigation would cover all stages, including the 2007 town plan. Local media quoted her as saying that it had been known since 2007 that construction work would take place on the land near Nessebur. “I am surprised that the reaction comes only now,” Gencheva said.
(Photo, of Nessebur beach: Bin im Garten)