Main street hit by shop clo­sures

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

ONE of cen­tral Le­fkoşa’s main thor­ough­fares has been hit by a “dou­ble whammy”, with shop­keep­ers pulling down the shut­ters be­cause of the on­go­ing cur­rency cri­sis, or to re­lo­cate to more pop­u­lar dis­tricts.

Hür­rem Tulga, gen­eral co­or­di­na­tor of the Ar­ti­sans’ and Crafts­men’s Cham­ber, said trade along Girne Cad­desi had been dwin­dling for some time as rents, rel­a­tively high be­cause the street had once been one of the cap­i­tal’s busiest, had be­come un­af­ford­able.

He said the street — de­scribed by writer Akay Ce­mal as the city’s “air­way” — of­fered lit­tle park­ing, driv­ing peo­ple to seek more con­ve­nient shop­ping lo­ca­tions.

The Arasta and Band­ab­u­liya ar­eas were prov­ing at­trac­tive to shop­pers and traders alike be­cause of their re­cent im­prove­ment, he added, while the open­ing of the Lok­macı check­point had also helped busi­nesses there to boom.

Mr Tulga said his or­gan­i­sa­tion had long at­tended city plan­ning meet­ings and high­lighted the prob­lems for Girne Cad­desi, but their warn­ings had not been heeded.

In­stead, he claimed, an “in­con­ceiv­able” 2011 plan­ning re­vi­sion al­low­ing shops to open along other roads had “fin­ished” the city, and was the “ac­tual rea­son for these shops clos­ing”.

The de­ci­sion had been on the ba­sis of a Le­fkoşa pop­u­la­tion fore­seen as 600,000, he said, when it barely reached 100,000 even with the in­clu­sion of neigh­bour­ing Gönyeli.

As a re­sult, cur­rent shop num­bers in Le­fkoşa and Gönyeli amounted to about “one store or busi­ness for ev­ery seven or eight peo­ple”, he said, com­ment­ing: “Shops open­ing up ev­ery­where is well be­yond the city’s ca­pac­ity. It is ob­vi­ous that many busi­nesses have closed down be­cause of that plan.”

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