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Alarm at Rhodes golf course sell-off

- by Archimedes

Alarm at Rhodes golf course sell-off.

Plans to sell off the island-run golf course in the Rhodes resort of Afandou has sparked outrage. Islanders fear the proposed sell off to developers could close public access to Afandou beach as well as deny the public access to one of the few links golf courses in the Greek islands.

Greece government is being forced to cash in its municipal assets as part of the recent bailout deal with the EU.

The Dodecanese Chamber of Trade is to decide on the plans later this week but opposition is growing throughout Rhodes.

The schemes involves selling off 1,850 acres of land along the coastal strip near the village of Rhodes that includes not only the gold course but Afandou beach as well.

Opponents fear developers will have the rights to restrict access to both the golf course and the beach which will both become private property.

They claim thet the regional council has not been consulted on the impact of the plans and that the cash from any sale will go into central government coffers with no benefit to the people of Afandou or of Rhodes.

An opponent said: "We and the world know that the revenue from this betrayal of Afandou Rhodes will be transferred directly to the special account of debt and we all know what a black hole that is."

They want caveats included in any sale that will ensure that public interest is safeguarded, that any development scheme is sustainable, environmentally sound, utilizes existing hotels and tourist infrastructure and guarantees free and unhindered access to Afandou beach.

Opened in 1973, the 18-hole golf course at Afandou was designed by British architect Donald Harradine and is open all year round. It is a championship golf course built to international standards and has a very active golf club.

The club house is pretty basic but it has all the usual facilities such as pro shop, changing rooms, lockers, showers and snack bar and it's located on the coast at Afandou Bay, about 18 km from Rhodes town.