‘Property free’ zone for Black Sea Coast

Bulgaria 's 398-kilometre Black Sea Coast is the most popular tourist area in the country and land there has been hugely sought after by developers and investors looking to cash in on the locale – but now, industry experts are calling for a property free zone to be brought in to prevent the coastline from becoming one huge development…

In ancient times, Greek colonizers established settlements along the entire coast of the Black Sea including Bulgaria, which lies along the western shore.

Prior to 1989 the Bulgarian Black Sea coast was internationally known as the Red Riviera. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, however, its nickname has been changed to the Bulgarian Riviera.

The coastline has remained the most popular area in Bulgaria with tourists and holiday home buyers alike, as they flock to the sandy beaches and stunning rocky coastline.

But, now the coastline has become a victim of its own success and there are concerns that the area could be ruined with a rash of developments.

Locals have also been denied free access to the beaches in some parts due to the mix of hotels and developments springing up.

Architects and MPs in Bulgaria are now calling for a one hundred metre construction free band to help protect the local environment and stop the development.

Growing public discontent has led to the MPs insisting for the application of article 16 of the Spatial Planning Act which guarantees free access to the sea for everyone.

"The Black Sea coast needs a zone absolutely forbidden for construction," said Borislav Vladimirov, who wrote the spatial planning bill.

"Such laws already exist in Croatia which have ultimately led to the demolition of buildings situated within the forbidden 70-metre zone.

"Furthermore, municipalities should become owners of the beaches – not only the small but the main beaches too," he added.

Georgi Nedelchev, Deputy Mayor of Bourgas, on Bulgaria's Southern Coast, added, "Beaches are supposed to service the tourism industry, and while the state wants to make a profit from them, construction there has resulted in negative trends in tourism."

Picture by Evgeni Dinev