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Locals protest against construction around Lake Balaton in Hungary

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By Thomas Blade
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Locals protest against construction around Lake Balaton in Hungary
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There is a renewed wave of outcry against planned construction around Lake Balaton in Hungary.

Developers aim to build apartment blocks, houses, a residential park, a visitor center and hotels close to the harbor of Tihany, a Unesco Word Heritage site.

Locals are demanding that this unique area be left designated a green zone and they do not want to see it paved in concrete.

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people demostrated against the plans and pleaded with authorities to save the marshland.

One local said: "Tihany will fail if it happens, there have already been a couple of settlements at Lake Balaton, but we only have one Tihany and Tihany is not only for us locals, but a wonderful little jewelry box for the whole country.”

György Molnár, the president of a grassroots organisation opposing the redevelopment spoke about the impact the new buildings will have on the area.

"There are plans to almost double the population of Tihany with these residential properties. Right now we do not see the effect on the environment, on transport or on utilities"

The mayor of Tihany, Imre Tósoki, says the recultivation of the area has long been planned, as there is no more space to build hotels and residential parks in the Tihany centre saying: “This area has been designated for tourism development for more than 30 years. The Tihany Peninsula is a national park area, it is not possible to build anything anywhere you want. ”

The people of Tihany are afraid that their settlement will suffer the same fate as other waterfront areas, where gated residential parks and hotels block off access to the shore for the locals.

Residents are asking for a 2-year construction moratorium on the territory of the Hemp Lands, during which time they would like to negotiate a compromised solution with the authorities that would preserve the natural balance of the shores of Lake Balaton.