Carambolo Controversy

The first avocado trees to be planted on the coast of Andalucia – in the whole of Spain, were planted by a German in Almuñécar in the 1950’s He had toured the entire coast before settling for a small hillside overlooking the Rio Verde valley, which at the time was covered in sugar cane.

He set up an experimental farm on which today the Carambolo Campsite stands, just off the N-340, a little further on from the Los Pinos roundabout. This pioneering German agriculturist set up a plantation, building the first chalet in the province – one that architects at the University of Granada would come down to study. The farm had hot & cold running water; something that was unheard of in Almuñécar at the time.

Eventually, a team of left-leaning ecologists took over the installations, preserving all that they could and setting up a campsite in the grounds, so that people could enjoy this little corner, that not only has some of the oldest subtropical trees in the province, but is also host to a chameleon colony.

Then they come up against a rapidly expanding Almuñécar, with a Mayor, according to one of the partners, IU spokesman, Fermin Tejero, who had other ideas for the area. What happened from there on in has been a series of inspections, closures and court cases.

Surprisingly, in a town that is littered with illegal constructions, or if not illegal, of very dubious legality, the camp site was targeted for its storeroom and classroom, which according to the Town Hall under the previous administration, did not have the correct building licence, even though the funds used for the classroom had been given for that task by the Junta de Andalucia.

When the new Mayoress came to power, she gave permission for the campsite to reopen its doors, but according to the CA, which held power in Almuñécar under Juan Carlos Benavides, this municipal decree came two days after receiving notification from the law courts that an appeal by the campsite owners had been rejected by the TSJA; i.e., the regional high court.

Benavides had passed a motion (so to speak), in a plenary meeting of the council to serve a demolition order on the offending structures on the 28th of October, 2010. The owners had appealed before the TSJA and now the said high court has backed Benavides’s demolition order.

The ex-Mayor’s party considers that the new Mayor’s lenience is part of a political accord between her party, the PP and Fermin Tejero’s IU. He pointed out that the court decision had come through at the very end of July and law courts are practically closed during August so on the 1st of September they re-appealed, hence in their opinion, the affair is still ongoing.

Who knows? But one thing is for sure, go visit this delightful corner whilst you can!

(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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