Incentives for protection, conservation and enhancement of the historic built environment and the cultural landscape, in urban and rural areas of Cyprus.
Until the mid ‘70s the archaeological and historical monuments were protected, whereas the traditional architecture remained unprotected and challenged by the rapid construction growth of the ‘60s - ‘80s. In 1976, the institutionalisation of the traditional heritage preservation was initiated.
Starting from 1987, the 1st economic incentive programme was provided according to the provisions of the Law on Listed Buildings. This concerned a complex system of low interest loans and a grant for the preservation based on criteria according to the owners’ income.
By 1992, the Programme was developed to form part of the Listed Buildings Act. The new Programme included, apart from low interest loans, direct grants, tax incentives and transfer of Development Rights, an innovative initiative even for today’s standards. The aim of the new Programme was clearly the preservation of the architectural heritage, as it did not include income criteria in relation to the grant and loan. Later, the Programme was revised to offer significant increase of the grant-in-aid and of the architectural study and supervision subsidy, while it excluded the provision of low interest loans.
The main stakeholders are the Preservation Sector, local authorities (especially in traditional settlements), professionals (architects, urban planners etc) and the owners. Direct beneficiaries of this practice are the owners of the listed buildings, but the incentives benefit a whole settlement/historical centre.
Financial Resources: From 5,5 million per year since 2013.
Human Resources: 3-5 people (applications, criteria, monitoring works).
Active since '92 with an increasing trend and ensured viability. Incentives are updated to meet the ever-increasing restoration costs (readjustments 2003, 2004, 2008).
Evidence of success
Thanks to the incentives 3500 buildings have been restored up-to-date. The declaration of Listed Buildings is steadily increasing (about 70 buildings are declared each year). Restoration works are on-going for about 350 buildings per year. During the last years measures for the improvement of the buildings' energy performance are also taken even though listed buildings are exempted from meeting the minimum requirements. This allows the rehabilitation of these buildings based on modern standards.
Incentives were originally inadequate and paid before the implementation of the restoration/maintenance works. Thus, they readjusted to serve the main aim which is the preservation of the architectural heritage irrespectively of the owner’s income. Also the subsidies are now given after the works.
Potential for learning or transfer
The necessity for the financial assistance to owners of listed buildings is common, since the financial cost involved in the restoration of listed buildings is very high.
Emphasis should be given to the transfer of development rights incentive. It gives extra financial assistance to the owner of a listed building to preserve and restore it, and it helps the urban development and regeneration in the ‘receiver’ areas (ie. urban centres). The TPHD’s incentives concern listed buildings to protect cultural and architectural heritage. They do not directly address the energy performance of buildings, which usually leads to noncompliance with the today’s standards for energy efficiency. Energy upgrade interventions are not excluded, but the overall financing is considered too low to include these as well, therefore it is not a priority. The incentives from the TPHD can be strengthened with additional or combinational measures form the Energy Service or even a new scheme inspired by VIOLET.
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