Costa del Sol News - 22nd July 2013

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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Foreign buyers only bright spot for second-home sales

Prices have dropped by 46 per cent since end of the property boom

By Oliver McIntyre

The COSTA is experiencing an uptick in the sale of holiday homes to foreign buyers, including Britons, but it is not yet enough to offset the flagging sales to domestic buyers, according to a report by the appraisers Tinsa.

The increase in second-home purchases by foreign buyers is “real and solid,” but has not reached pre-crisis levels, while domestic demand will not recover until the economy improves, said Raúl García, Tinsa’s director of marketing and business development. “Sales [to Spaniards] won’t increase until there is greater consumer confidence regarding employment and income – if buying a primary residence is difficult, a second home is even more so,” he said.

Since the end of the property boom in 2008, holiday home prices in Málaga province have dropped by an average of 45.9 per cent, according to the Tinsa study. The biggest declines have been in the far west of the province, with prices slashed by over half in towns such as Casares (55.7 per cent), Manilva (55.2 per cent) and Estepona (50.2 per cent).

El Torcal in line for a win

Nature park near Antequera in quarterfinal for ‘Best Spot in Spain’ contest

By Dave Jamieson

EL Torcal, south of Antequera, is in the running to be named the ‘Best Spot in Spain’ in an online contest being run by Repsol. The small mountain range between Málaga and Antequera is noted for its unusual landforms and was designated a Natural Site of National Interest in 1929. About 17 square kilometres became a Natural Park in 1978, and last year it attracted 150,000 visitors.

Anyone who registers at the Repsol website can vote for El Torcal twice a day.

Granada murder suspect arrested in Almuñécar

Man confessed to police that he killed his wife, from whom he was separating

By Dave Jamieson

A 37-YEAR-OLD man was detained in Almuñécar last week, shortly before the discovery of the body of his wife at the house in Granada which they shared until their separation.

The alarm was raised shortly after midnight last Wednesday morning by a family member who told police that the 29-year-old woman had not returned from a meeting with him at 6pm. The couple were in the process of getting a divorce and had arranged to meet to discuss the details.

At the same time, local police in Almuñécar found a man whom they described as “upset,” and who was suffering from a head wound, believed to have been self-inflicted. He was found to be carrying his wife’s mobile phone and credit card, and the officers advised the National Police when they were unable to contact her.

Surgery wait times pass maximum limit for first time

Average wait time in Málaga is second-highest in Andalucía

By Oliver McIntyre

THE Andalucía health service (SAS) has for the first time reported that some patients in Málaga province have had to wait longer than the guaranteed maximum wait times for surgery, which were established by the Junta de Andalucía in 2002.

A total of 106 patients in Málaga province have waited longer than the maximum wait time, which is set at 180 days for most surgeries and 120 days for 71 of the most common surgical procedures. These patients represent 0.9% of the total of 10,643 patients on the wait lists as of June 30, according to the SAS figures.

Warning over photocopied disabled parking cards

Briton’s car was towed because his blue badge was a copy, not the original

By Oliver McIntyre

DRIVERS with a disabled parking card have been cautioned to always display their original card, and not a photocopy, when parking in disabled spaces or face a ticket and possibly having their car towed away.

Briton Dennis Bacon, from Dorset, told CDSN his car was towed away while parked in a disabled parking space at the Dunnes Stores in Mijas, despite having a laminated colour photocopy of his blue badge displayed on the dashboard.

After taking a taxi to the pound to recover his vehicle, he showed them his name and photograph on the reverse of the parking card, but they told him it was no good because it was a photocopy.

“I’ve used this card for six years with no problems,” said Mr Bacon, who assumed the laminated copy of the card was perfectly legitimate. “Now I’ll bring my original from England every time I come down here for a month.”


Critics cry ‘money-maker’ as La Cala radar nabs 7,000 speeders in first two weeks

By Oliver McIntyre

THE new timing radar system installed on a five-kilometre stretch of the A7 in La Cala de Mijas nabbed some 7,000 speeders during its first two weeks of operation, according to figures from the Traffic Department (DGT).

Since the system is in its introductory phase, the drivers will be sent only a notification that they were caught speeding, and not a ticket. However, in the next week or so the system will go ‘live’, with speeders being issued real tickets, with fines of 100 to 600 euros and the loss of up to six licence points, said the DGT in a report last week by Cadena Ser.

The high infraction rate recorded in the first two weeks has prompted criticism from the opposition PSOE party in Mijas, which says a lack of sufficient signage alerting drivers means the radar trap will serve more as a money-maker than as a dissuasive measure to prevent speeding and improve safety, which was its purported purpose.

Rajoy under pressure

PM says he will not resign despite Bárcenas’s claims of illegal payments

By Dave Jamieson

SPAIN'S prime minister has rejected calls to step aside after further allegations in the investigation into the activities of former Partido Popular treasurer Luis Bárcenas. “The rule of law does not bow to blackmail,” Mariano Rajoy told journalists, adding he would not allow the “rumours” surrounding the Bárcenas case to divert his administration from its programme of reforms.

Sr Rajoy was talking shortly after Luis Bárcenas, who has been held in prison since last month, appeared before Judge Pablo Ruz to answer more questions about the slush fund which allegedly took cash from businesses in return for handing our lucrative contracts, with the money then paid as undeclared bonuses to senior Partido Popular figures.

For the first time, Sr Bárcenas admitted the authenticity of ledgers published in January by El País, which claimed they were his records of slush fund transactions. He alleged that he had paid Mariano Rajoy and María Dolores de Cospedal, now the PP’s secretary general, cash in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Each, he claimed, had received 25,000 euros in 2010, paid to them in 500 euro notes.

Marbella arrests as credit card fraud gang smashed

Gang charged millions of euros on stolen card numbers

By David Eade

THE Guardia Civil have moved to break up a criminal gang dedicated to internet fraud using credit cards. Officers believe the organisation has been active for a number of years on an international basis and that the amounts involved could total millions of euros.

The investigation started in Palma, Mallorca, where one of the detained is believed to have purchased flights to the value of 25,000 euros. Twelve people have been arrested in the last week, eight of them in Marbella or San Pedro and the rest in the Balearic Islands.

Campaign to halt drownings

Warning follows swimming pool deaths of four children

By Nuria Pérez

THE Health Ministry has launched advice following the tragic deaths of four children in swimming pools in the Valencia region and Andalucía in a single week.

The youngsters were aged 17 months to eight years old.

The authorities noted that relatives must watch children at all times if they are in water or near a pool, a pond, an inflatable pool or any place with water.

Adults, and not older children, should be responsible.