The Administrative Court in Split cancelled the decision of the Environment Protection Ministry to approve an environment impact study concerning a planned golf resort on Srdj hill above Dubrovnik, an activist opposed to the golf course plan said on Friday.

In late 2012 the ministry gave its consent to the environment impact study and in 2013 three associations, including the Croatian Architects Association, appealed the decision that approved the study.

"This is a great victory of civil society," activist Maro Kristic said explaining that this will have repercussions on development permits issued in the meantime. Kristic pointed an accusing finger at the former Construction Minister Anka Mrak Taritas of the Croatian People's Party (HNS).

"We are in favour of investments, but from the very start of this project, laws have not been complied with," Kristic said.

Also in 2014, the Zagreb-based High Administrative Court repealed a physical plan for Dubrovnik-Neretva County adopted in 2006 which covered land intended for a golf resort on Srdj hill.

In 2006, during the term of the government of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) PM Ivo Sanader, the government commissioner for Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Zelimir Bosnic, amended the county's existing physical plan to increase the land area intended for the golf resort from 100 to 310 hectares, and in that way covered up irregularities in previous versions of the plan.

In late April 2013, residents of Dubrovnik voted at a referendum on the proposed construction of a golf course and villas and hotels on the plateau of Srdj hill overlooking Dubrovnik, but the turnout was 31.5%, well below the required 50%. Of the 11,977 residents who went to the polls, 10,051 voted against the project, and 1,846 voted in favour.

Construction of the Srdj golf park has caused controversy over the past few years and civil action groups have objected to it claiming that it would pave the way to excessive development on the hill and devastate the environment. 

Ivan Kusalic, a representative of the "Razvoj Golf" company tasked with implementing the project of building golf courses in Dubrovnik, said on Friday that the ministry's decision had been dismissed  for procedural reasons

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