Main street hit by shop closures
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.”