Our £200k dream home is sliding down a Cyprus hill: British couple is suing the Cypriot government after their two-year-old villa was wrecked by landslides
- Simon and Jenny Phillips bought the home, in Armou, Paphos district, in 2008
- Craters and large drop outside their front door caused by landslides from rain
- Mr Phillips, 50, from Hemel Hempstead, sold everything to buy the villa in 2008
When Simon and Jenny Phillips moved into their luxury villa in Cyprus they were looking forward to many happy years under the Mediterranean sun.
But those dreams soon came crashing down, when the earth opened up beneath them and reduced chunks of their family home to rubble.
Now the couple and their two teenage daughters are stuck in ‘a cross between a building site and warzone’ – as their £200,000 home continues to slide downhill.
When Simon and Jenny Phillips moved into their luxury villa in Cyprus they were looking forward to many happy years under the Mediterranean sun
And the family, who once enjoyed a large swimming pool and ocean-view terraces, are now suing the Cypriot government for signing off on the doomed development.
Mr Phillips, 50, an IT consultant, sold everything to buy the villa in 2008 – but it was less than two years before cracks began to appear.
An especially rainy winter triggered landslides underneath the home, causing large craters and a dangerous drop outside the front door to form, and tilting the garage to a 12-degree angle.
Now parts of the property in Armou, in the Paphos district, have slipped more than six feet below the earth – and the family, from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, are the only ones left on the development after five other British households deserted their crumbling homes.
Mr Phillips says the Cypriot government should not have allowed developers JNM 4U to build on the clay-based site in 2004, with an independent engineering report later finding the soil was ‘problematic’.
The report said the government was aware of the site’s ‘geological problems’ and allowed the developers to build without taking ‘necessary precautions to stabilise and secure it.’
But those dreams soon came crashing down, when the earth opened up beneath them and reduced chunks of their family home to rubble. Above: Jenny and Simon Phillips outside their ruined home
Now the couple and their two teenage daughters are stuck in ‘a cross between a building site and warzone’ – as their £200,000 home continues to slide downhill
The developer is now defunct, but the distraught family are suing the Cypriot government for the value of their home – which experts believe could cost £210,000 to repair. ‘It is completely worthless now.
No one in their right mind would buy this house or any of the other homes on the development,’ Mr Phillips said. ‘We’ve had countless sprained ankles over the years, the place is just so dangerous.
‘Our home is a cross between a building site and a warzone. We can’t get to the front door because there’s a crater a few yards deep in front of it.’
Mr Phillips said he is ‘racked with guilt’ over the decision to relocate his wife, a 50-year-old waitress, and daughters – a 17-year-old student and 19-year-old animal rescue volunteer.
He added: ‘I carry a huge amount of guilt with me all the time. I have ripped myself apart about this. Our dream has been ripped away from us. The life we wanted for our kids has been taken away.’
The independent report carried out in 2014 found the home ‘unfit for habitation,’ but the family continue to live there in defiance of a government order banning them from staying.
The family, who once enjoyed a large swimming pool and ocean-view terraces, are now suing the Cypriot government for signing off on the doomed development
Mr Phillips said: ‘We can’t afford to move house. Even though the whole hillside could one day slip down the valley, we have nowhere else to go and I am not making my family homeless.
‘This is the only home my children really remember living in, the home they grew up in. And it’s such a tragedy they have been put through this.
‘When we first moved out here I felt like the luckiest man alive but this has just become a nightmare we are trapped in.’
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