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Pattaya

Moves to halt 50-storey condo

Locals complain project will block views, demand checks on title deeds

PATTAYA CITY will tomorrow lodge a police complaint against "Waterfront Suites & Residence Pattaya" condominium project in Bali Hai Pier (South Pattaya) area for violating the city's order to suspend construction pending corrections to match the approved plans, Mayor Ittipol Khunpluem said yesterday.

The 50-storey condominium project by Tulip Group in tambon Nong Preu of Bang Lamung district faces complaints from many who claim it blocked the view and doubt if the construction is legal.

Those against the project launched a campaign via change.org and have so far gathered 1,000 signatures calling on Thai authorities to check on its land title deeds. They say the project is just 100 metres from the shoreline and is expected to be 50 storeys tall, when the building height control is normally limited to 20-30 storeys. They also demanded to see the project's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.

On its website, www.waterfrontpattaya.com, the Tulip Group posted a message saying it has developed hotels and condominiums in Pattaya City, resulting in more than 1,000 jobs, while boosting the city's income and supporting its position as the Eastern Region's hub of tourism.

It also affirmed that the project was 100-per-cent legal and that it had obtained EIA approval as well as construction permits from Pattaya City and the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP). It said it regretted that people opposed the project, adding that the complex, when completed mid-2015, would help improve the overall landscape of Bali Hai Pier area. The statement also said it wouldcreate jobs for many more locals and elevate Pattaya City's international recognition.

The project executives were unavailable for comment by phone.

Ittipol told the press conference that the project, commenced in 2004, did gain approval from the ONEP and that locals had indeed raised concerns about the alleged blocking of the view. He went on to say that authorities later found that the construction did not match the ONEP-approved plan in relation to fire escapes and lift shafts, hence they imposed a 45-day suspension on construction on July 16, pending corrections.

When the construction reportedly resumed, Ittipol said he assigned the city's legal expert Wasan Anthawapi and acting building control chief Somchai Bumrungsak to file a police complaint against the company for failing to construct the building according to approved blueprints and for violating the suspension order.

Initial inspection by police and related agencies on Tuesday found only security guards at the site.




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