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Fast track status for Crete complex

- by Archimedes

Fast track status for Crete complex.

A plan to build a luxury resort complex on the Greek holiday island of Crete or Kriti has been fast-tracked by the Greek government. UK-based company Minoan Group wants to build a €300 million holiday complex on the Cavo Sidero peninsula on the north east coast of Crete. The holiday resort project looked set to stall over protests against the 2,000-bed luxury hotel scheme from ecologists, archaeologists, politicians and Crete environmental groups.

Now the Greek government has stepped in to fast-track the controversial scheme which is expected to create around 1,200 jobs.

Minoan chairman Christopher Egleton said: "We are delighted that the Greek government has granted our Crete project fast-track status.It is definitely the most significant step yet in terms of bringing the project to fruition and demonstrates the Greek government's support for what is now recognised as a strategic investment for the country."

The proposed holiday complex will cover 2,500 hectares and has capacity for 1,936 beds in a number of luxury holiday hotels as well as a wide range of leisure, sports and cultural facilities, including a golf course.

The Cavo Sidero peninsula is in a spectacular location extending into the Mediterranean from the north east coast of Crete. It is also an uninhabited area of the island that is a biological hotspot, rich in rare plants.

The scheme's opponents, led by ecologist Professor Oliver Rackham, from Cambridge University in the UK, claim the multi-million euro scheme is ill-suited to a region that in most other countries would have designated a national park.

The decision to fast-track the scheme means it is only one step ahead away from getting the full go-ahead. This is the approval of the updated Environmental Impact Assessment and Minoan directors are confident this will be granted soon.

Greece introduced sweeping changes to its investment laws in 2010 in a bid to promote projects that will promote the economy. Fast-track status is granted to projects that look likely to boost Greek economic growth and create new, sustainable jobs.

Minoan owns and operates several travel agencies dealing in worldwide travel and also operates a resort development division. As well as the Crete project, Minoan is bidding to build a hotel and golf complex on the 7km stretch of beach at Afandou in Rhodes.