News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
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Mijas hires firm to perform illegal homes study
The private company has four months to submit its findings to the town hall
By Oliver McIntyre
MIJAS town hall has hired a private firm to carry out a study to detail the situation of homes built on non-building land in the town, "the first major step toward the regularisation of the homes," said officials last week.
The 60,000-euro contract to perform the study was given to Desarrollo de Planeamiento, whose staff members include individuals who were involved in the creation of the town's 1999 local development plan (PGOU), as well as specialists in non-building land issues and technical staff who have worked for many years with the Junta de Andalucía on planning matters, said the town hall.
The firm has four months to submit its findings, which will be used as the basis for revisions to sections of the PGOU affecting non-building land, which is expected to allow the regularisation of many illegal properties. That revision will require Junta de Andalucía approval.
Nerja plant gets green light
After nearly 12 years of political wrangling the project is to finally go ahead
By Dave Jamieson
THE project to construct a wastewater treatment plant in Nerja has finally been licensed by the government, according to the town's mayor, José Alberto Armijo. Formal confirmation is expected to appear in the Official State Bulletin before the end of March.
Last Thursday, Sr Armijo announced that the secretary of state, Federico Ramos, had told him that, while a few items of red tape remained to be completed, the project was set to go ahead. The final budget is just over 40.5 million euros and the completion date is given as 2015.
The news means that the town can prepare to offer tenders for the project's developmental stage and for the actual construction work on the plant. The mayor said he would be chairing a working group to keep an almost daily track on progress.
Brussels deals blow to Málaga rail link
By Dave Jamieson
LAST Thursday's decision by EU transport ministers on the final shape of the rail link from Algeciras to the north-east of Spain and into Europe has come as a bitter blow to Málaga.
Last month, it was announced that, after a rethink, the line would follow the coast all the way north but now it appears the decision has been made to stick to the previous plan, which excludes the entire Costa del Sol.
The so-called Mediterranean Corridor is one element of a 50 billion-euro European project which aims to transform the existing roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified transport network by 2020. It includes a Spanish rail investment of almost 50 million euros to unite the Iberian peninsula with the rest of the continent.
Last October, the former socialist administration released plans for a line running inland from Algeciras to Bobadilla with a branch to Sevilla, then on to Antequera and Granada, and returning to the coast at Almería before heading north. This completely by-passed Málaga and the Costa del Sol, generating tremendous local anger and disappointment.
However, in February the public works minister, Ana Pastor, announced that the new Partido Popular government had reversed the decision and the route would hug the coastline along almost its entire journey to the north-east. It would also, she said, be linked directly into Málaga airport.
Works at health centre pose 'danger' to patients
People accessing the building have to walk in the busy roadBy Oliver McIntyre
COÍN town hall says that delayed construction work on the outside of the local health centre is posing a "serious danger" to users of the centre, who are forced to walk in the street.
"Our concern is for the safety of pedestrians in the zone because they have to go out into the street to skirt the work zone, and it is a road used by a lot of cars," said the mayor, Fernando Fernández, following a visit to the site last week.
Local officials say that during a visit last October the Junta's health delegate in Málaga, María Antigua Escalera, said the 395,000-euro project was to be finished by the end of 2011.
"Three months have passed, work has been halted and we can't get any information from the Junta de Andalucía's Health Department," said the mayor.
Briton, 59, injured in hang glider accidentThe holidaymaker, who is reported to be in intensive care in a very serious condition, crashed to the ground from a height of between 50 and 100 metres
By Oliver McIntyre
A 59-YEAR-OLD British holidaymaker was seriously injured in Teba last week when his hang glider crashed to the ground from a height of between 50 and 100 metres, according to information from the 112 emergency service and the Málaga Firefighting Consortium.
It is understood the Briton was flying with a group from the hang gliding school in Algonodales, Cádiz, when the accident happened at around 2.30pm on Wednesday in the Cerro de San Cristóbal zone in the Sierra del Carmen outside Teba, in inland Málaga province - a popular site for hang gliding and paragliding.
Firefighters, a Guardia Civil mountain rescue team, local police, Protección Civil and other emergency personnel responded to the scene.
"The ambassador and regional minister discussed the action being taken by the Valencian authorities to address the property and planning problems being experienced by a large number of British residents," noted the press release.
The victim had suffered head injuries and was airlifted by helicopter to Hospital Clínico in Málaga, from where he was later transferred by ambulance to the city's Hospital Carlos Haya, where he was admitted to the ICU and reported to be in very serious condition.
Diesel drivers prepare for tax hike
Government says higher-polluting diesel vehicles should pay more road tax
By Dave Jamieson
TAXES on diesel-powered vehicles are set to rise. The government says that those drivers whose cars cause higher levels of pollution should pay higher road tax.
The secretary of state for the environment, Federico Ramos, said last week that the country's regions are generally in agreement with the proposals while the town halls, which apply road tax in Spain, want to analyse the implications. He underlined that the increase was being considered for environmental reasons, and not simply to raise money, adding that it was all about forcing drivers to lower emissions and reduce contaminants.
However, before the increase can be applied, the country's air quality legislation, which is linked to vehicle taxing regulations, will have to be revised. The new Partido Popular government says that the previous socialist administration introduced them without the necessary regional or local consultation.
Vegas complex promoters under fire
Pressure group launched to fight plans for ‘EuroVegas' in Spain
By Dave Jamieson
A NEW pressure group was launched last week to fight plans for a Las Vegas-style casino complex in Spain. Its members are questioning the benefits such a venture would bring and have warned of the criminal elements it could attract.
A US billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, is already discussing plans with Madrid and Barcelona for a complex of casinos, hotels, theatres and golf courses. The project has been nicknamed EuroVegas and is reported to involve investments of almost 19 billion euros. Its promoters claim it will create over 260,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The new group has named itself ‘EuroVegas No'. Its members allege that the numbers being quoted are "not real," and that the project is a repeat of a growth model based on excessive construction. They claim it would not be a source of sustainable jobs, adding that any posts created would be mostly low-skilled. They are also warning that the complex would attract organised crime and prostitution, and that it would turn Spain into a "nation of waiters and prostitutes".