Costa del Sol News - 22nd October 2012

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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Home sales rise for first time in 18 months

Buyers start rushing to purchase ahead of higher IVA and end of tax deduction

By Oliver McIntyre

HOME sales in Spain increased by three per cent in August compared to the same month last year, marking the first uptick following 17 consecutive months of declining sales.

The August increase has been widely attributed to consumers rushing to buy ahead of the disappearance of the tax deduction for the purchase of a primary residence and the increase in IVA tax (VAT) on new home sales, from four per cent to 10 per cent, both of which come into effect in January.

A total of 27,708 homes were sold throughout the country in August, according to National Statistics Institute data. The three per cent increase compared to last August came almost entirely from sales of new homes, which rose by 6.2 per cent while sales of second-hand homes remained flat.

Fogbound coast causes flight diversions

Nine flights, mainly from the UK and Ireland, were rerouted to Granada and Sevilla

By Dave Jamieson

THE FOG which blanketed much of the coast on several days last week was caused by a mass of warm air coming into contact with the cold sea, according to meteorologists who referred to it as a condition known as "temperature inversion." The situation was exacerbated by a lack of wind and visibility was reduced to only a few metres in many places.

Nine flights en route to Málaga were diverted to Granada and Sevilla, according to airports authority Aena which said most were from the UK and Ireland.

However, passengers booked on a flight from Málaga to Barcelona on Tuesday evening last week found the fog not only to be an inconvenience, but a major impediment to their travel.

They were due to take off from Málaga at 9.10pm but at the point of boarding, were told that the thick fog meant their aircraft could not leave. Instead, they would be taken to Granada airport by road instead.

Their coach arrived about 90 minutes later, so by the time they arrived at Granada it was around 11.30pm. After an exhaustive security check, they finally boarded the aircraft and sat down.

Calls for action over closed Guadalhorce hospital

Junta officials have long said they were committed to opening the hospital in 2012

By Oliver McIntyre

THE LEFT-WING Izquierda Unida party has submitted a motion at several Guadalhorce valley town halls to demand the opening of the area's new hospital, which has been completely built for months but remains closed due to a lack of the electricity installation.

The IU, which has also sent its motion to the Junta de Andalucía and to parliamentary groups at the regional parliament, estimates that even sitting idle the hospital is costing around 4,000 euros a month for maintenance and security.

The party points out that the Guadalhorce valley is the only region of Málaga without its own hospital, and says that the area generates 110,000 emergencies a year, 31 per cent of all emergencies handled at Málaga's Hospital Clínico, which it says is "overcrowded to the point of collapse".

Despite construction being complete the Junta de Andalucía has refused to officially take possession of the hospital until Cártama town hall fulfils its obligation take on the electrical installation.

However, Cártama town hall has repeatedly stated that it simply does not have the two million euros necessary to carry out the work.

Skateboarding banned in Torremolinos

The council wants to keep dangerous skaters off the 'streets, plazas, parks and paseos'

By Oliver McIntyre

SKATEBOARDERS and roller-skaters have been told to keep off the streets of Torremolinos or face fines of at least 600 euros.

Mayor Pedro Fernández Montes on Monday issued an edict banning the use of skateboards and roller-skates in all of the town's "streets, pavements, plazas, parks and paseos".

Under the new rules their use is permitted only at the municipal skate park located at the Villa Deportiva sports centre.

"For some time we have been detecting via various municipal departments, as well as by complaints from the public, that some of the many people who practice skating are misusing this activity," states the edict.

It goes on to say that "these abuses and excesses are not only resulting in unease among people walking or passing through such areas, alone or with children, due to the often dangerous situations caused by risky manoeuvres, but are also causing damage and deterioration to street infrastructure such as pavements, stairs, railings, and the surfaces of streets, pedestrian plazas and the Paseo Marítimo".


Retired British policeman awarded Spain's White Cross of Merit

By Oliver McIntyre

RETIRED British policeman Aubrey Thomas Bowles has been awarded the Spanish police's White Cross of Merit for his long-time dedication as a volunteer interpreter at the Fuengirola National Police station.

Mr Bowles, now 71, retired from the County Forces in Bedford, England, in 1995, and moved to Mijas the following year. When he was asked to join the volunteer interpreter programme at the Fuengirola police station, he didn't hesitate to sign up.

After 12 years of service, he continues to be an active member of the programme, which was set up by the Mijas Foreigners' Department at the request of the police chief at the Fuengirola ‘comisaría', which is used by residents of both towns.

Mr Bowles "has attended and helped thousands of foreigners to get their residence card/certificate, NIE numbers, etc," said the Foreigners' Department. "His work as a volunteer is much appreciated by the foreign population."

Missing Pizarra man found as flood aid begins

The provincial government in Málaga has created a €3 million emergency fund to cover urgent repairs to damage caused by the heavy rain and flooding

By Dave Jamieson

A BODY found in the sea last Wednesday has been confirmed as that of the man missing from Pizarra since the storms of September 28.

The crew of a passing vessel spotted the body 800 metres of the coast between Benalmádena and Fuengirola and advised the Guardia Civil who sent a patrol to investigate. They retrieved the body from the water and took it to the port at Fuengirola where specialists from the Judicial Police Unit were waiting to take over the investigation.

The body was formally identified the following day as that of Juan Jiménez, who had been washed down the Guadalhorce river and out to sea.

Juan Jiménez was the third fatal victim of the floods in the province of Málaga. An 85-year-old woman drowned outside her home in Álora on the day of the storm and the following day, the body of an 80-year-old man was found in Archidona.

Meanwhile, the provincial government in Málaga last week created an emergency fund with three million euros to cover urgent repairs to damage caused by the heavy rain and flooding.