The Council of State opened the way to the development of the former Hellinikon airport on Thursday, approving its investment plan as fully compliant with the Greek constitution and legislation.
The approval of the development plan, included in a presidential review as “Integrated Development Plan (IDP) of the Hellinikon – Agios Kosmas Metropolitan Pole”, fulfils one of the outstanding prior actions for Greece’s third fiscal review by its creditors.
In their ruling, the judges of Greece’s highest administrative court said the development of Hellinikon serves the public interest in improving the economy, providing employment opportunities, and promoting Athens as a cultural metropolis.
Referring to the issue of whether high-rises on the property are legal, the judges said they were allowed within the metropolitan park for “improving quality of life by taking less space, increasing open and green spaces and improving natural and artificial lighting,” therefore any deviations from standard town planning regulations “are justified in serving the purpose of the public interest.”
They also said that the interventions on the shoreline were mild and would upgrade the beach as well as tie in to the greater development plans for the bay, which have already been approved.
The Council of State judges warned however that all regulations – such as environmental, town planning, architectural – must be observed to the letter.
In terms of the antiquities and ancient structures found on the site, which are open to visitors, the judges opined that “archaeological research and the introduction of measures to protect and conserve the monuments, where this is deemed necessary, have priority over the beginning of any technical project and must be completed within an acceptable space of time given the project’s deadlines.”