Salobreña’s Expansion Problems

Saturday, August 17, 2019
By Vivienne Hughes

SAL Map generalSalobreña is planning to make urban development advances, pushing out to the east. The plan also contemplates a trading estate in the area known as La Tahiba.

The LOUA (the regional development plan that came into being in 2003) has severely limited coastal towns from expanding into virgin, undeveloped spaces within their own municipalities.

Of the 786 municipalities within Andalucía, 607 still haven’t got around to complying with the LOUA; in other words, 77% of them. Four out of every five have become bogged down in the bureaucracy of it.

As far as Costa Tropical municipalities go, Salobreña, Motril and Almuñécar have been immersed in the process for a while yet each one has different circumstances to deal with: Motril and Salobreña have relatively recent PGOUs (general urban development plans) in place whilst Almuñécar is still struggling to get approval for a new one that will replace the 1987 PGOU, which is still in effect despite being hopelessly obsolete.

Salobreña had its PGOU approved by the Junta in 2002, but it has to be adapted to the 2003 regional law with its coastal-protection restrictions.

The prime reason that Salobreña is struggling is because the land that they want to develop has tremendous flooding problems; i.e. on both sides of the Guadalfeo river. The area is a floodplain, which until very, very recently was covered in thirsty sugar-cane crops, which together with the now abandoned drainage ditches, kept the land reasonably ‘dry.’

So the Mayor, María Eugenia Rufino, is concentrating on trying to get the restrictions on modifications to the old town lifted, at least partially – its historic nature means that most of it is heritage protected.

Any property owner up there who wishes to carry out renovations or any other such building work needs to get approval from the Junta and not just the Town Hall, so this is where the Plan Especial del Conjunto Histórico comes in. The PECH will hopefully permit the property owner to begin work as long as it does not affect the size of the building whilst final approval is in the pipeline. You see, it is not so much that the Junta rejects building licences for renovations etc, but that they take so long to respond.

As for the rest of the municipality, the Town Hall wants to push urban development in the direction of the river, including another road artery between the town and the beach running more or less parallel to the Avenida del Mediterraneo, as well as the projected Polígono Industrial/Comercial La Tahiba (trading estate).

SAL Map La Tahiba Trading Estate siteThe Tahiba will substitute the planned P.I. La Kasbah , which has had to be dropped because of the areas susceptibility to flooding, The area known as La Tahiba is near the A-7 junction in Lobres, which will give businesses there excellent road communications.

The P.I. La Tahiba will cover around 600,000 sq/m metres and will be connected to the town by lanes down either side of the Rambla de Mólvizar. The existing lanes will have to be widened and a bridge will need to be built over the mouth of the rambla where it joins Río Guadalfeo. The 600 sq/m will border on one side with said rambla.

The report on possible flooding problems drawn up by the Junta de Andalucía covers a large area of the municipality, which effectively prevents any building on the affected land. However, the Town Hall points out that the report was published after the PGOU received its definitive approval from the Junta in 2002.

As the land with flooding problems includes the TH2 (between the river and Motril) it could mean that the land is recategorised to its original state – arable. This in turn means that the Owners’ Management Board could demand compensation, plunging the town coffers into debt.

SAL Map TH2What can be done about the flooding problem? Amongst the ideas being thrown around is the widening the Guadalfeo riverbed, although it is not clear how that will help as the flooding would not be caused by the river bursting its banks, but rather the water table reaching the surface, or near enough to affect building foundations, etc.

If things weren’t complicated enough, then there’s the POTA (Plan de Ordenación del Territorio de Andalucía), which came into effect in 2006 which stipulates that a municipality cannot increase its built-up area by more than 30% of the land within the municipality, nor by 40% of the population. This was precisely where Juan Carlos Benavides’ PGOU bit the dust because it originally envisaged 53,000 more dwellings, smashing through both limitations.

Yet Salobreña’s PGOU still has plenty of room in it for urban expansion in the Sector Norte, for example. Furthermore and in conclusion, Salobreña has 200 finished but unsold dwellings, so there is no shortage for somewhere to live.

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

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