Town Hall Wins Herradura Case

LHR Sports pvilion OnLDid you know that the La Herradura sports centre has parking underneath it? Well, it does and it’s been closed for twelve years.

The building has space for 400 vehicles, which in the summer would come in handy, to say the least, but it has never been opened to the public. Here’s why…

The company that had the lease to run this underground parking facility declined to operate it because they claimed that it would not be profitable as it is… in the middle of nowhere, so to speak. The sports centre is at the end of a country lane surrounded by fruit-tree plantations.

So, they took the Almuñécar Town Hall to court, suing it for 900,000 euros. Fortunately for the municipal coffers, they have just lost the case.

It was back in 2006 when the Town Hall put the lease for the underground car park up for bidding, with the leasehold awarded in 2007 to Ampark Gestión S. L. and a contract for a 50-year lease was signed.

Then in 2012 the leaseholder requested that the lease should start from 2016 and not from 2007 bringing the termination of the lease to 2066. The Town Hall accepted.

In 2017 the company went to court to try and get the contract cancelled, demanding that the Town Hall handed over the 900,000 euros that it had cost the leaseholder to build. The prime condition of the lease was; you build it, you manage it.

Their argument was that the Town Hall had fallen down on its part by failing to build up the area; the company had based its feasibility study on this condition being met. “There was to be major urban development in that area but instead there’s only the sports centre in the middle of agricultural land,” they complained.

Even though the leaseholder can appeal, the Mayor hopes that next summer it will be open and operating. The First Councillor, Juan José Ruiz Joya, firmly blames Benavides, who “only left problems for somebody else to sort out or pay out over.”

And it gets complicated because the land on which it sits was the subject of a compulsory-purchase order… yet the original landowner still hasn’t been paid for it. Readers might also remember that the sports centre had originally faced demolition because it had been built on greenbelt land. Big Bad Benny at his best, bless his cotton socks.

Anyway, the defence lawyer argued that the Town Hall had never promised to develop the area because that must be done by the local land owners and that having requested and received a postponement for the lease start date, it was illogical to then sue the town for it being ‘not financial feasible’ to run it… with 99% of the lease still to go.

The judge considered that the leaseholder knew the inherent risks when they signed and reminded the plaintiff that the principle of leasing is “risk and venture.” He concluded that with 49 years still to run, you cannot claim that it is not working out financially and that the owner is earning at least some money from renting out storage space to small-sea-craft owners.

Not impressed, the leaseholder will be launching an appeal before the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Andalucía.

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

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