The 5-star hotel, Cortijo de Andalucía, could finally be opening its door within ten months, thanks to a favourable court finding in the Juzgado de lo Contencioso Administrativo in Granada.
The man behind the hotel, Trinitario Betoret, received the news with understandable joy after having waited for years in legal limbo. His company, Complejo Residencial Salud y Natura S.A., has been fighting the decision by the Almuñécar Town Hall to cancel his building licence on the 15th of June, 2018. Yet the problem long predates that decision.
The Town Hall took this decision after receiving a negative response to its query before Consejo Consultivo in Sevilla asking about their legal standing should they reissue a building licence, thus allowing the hotel to go ahead to completion.
Sr. Betoret hopes that this will be the end of his legal tribulations which started in 2007. The complex was almost complete when all work on the hotel ground to a halt. The Town Hall had originally issued a building licence in 2000. However, the Junta took Almuñécar to court to have the hotel stopped because the plot was on greenbelt land – the Town Hall had argued that the luxury hotel was of “public interest,” thus justifying the hotel’s construction on land that shouldn’t be built upon.
Five years went past and the Town Council went ahead and issued the building licence despite the opposition of the Junta de Andalucia for the hotel to built on the Cercado de la Santa Cruz, a little above the San Sebastian junior school bearing that name. Again, the Junta lodged an appeal before the law courts, bringing the hotel construction to a grinding halt despite its near complete state in 2007.
Then came February 2018 when the Town Council approached the Regional Advisory Board asking for a report on the viability of issuing a new licence. But their response was against doing this. Accordingly, a Plenary Meeting passed a motion to cancel the existing building licence from 2000 in order to avoid further conflict with the Junta with the Mayor’s party, backed by the IU, voting in favour and the rest of the political parties abstaining,
Trinitario Betoret decided not to take it lying down and took the Town Hall to court which resulted in his winning the case. If the Town Hall does not appeal against this finding, then things can go ahead.
Editorial clarification: This might all seem very convoluted so we’ll simplify it: the then Mayor, Juan Carlos Benavides modified the PGOU (Urban Development Plan) to permit a hotel to go up on greenbelt land, reasoning that Almuñécar having such a hotel was more important than the greenbelt protection on that land.
The Junta threw a fit and opposed it and wrangling ensued until 2007 when the 2000 building licence was frozen and all work came to an end. You see, despite the affair being in the hands of the law courts, building had continued frenetically but in 2007 the building site was officially closed down.
Come 2018 the new Mayor was tempted to reissue a new one but decided to consult a regional advisory board on legal matters before doing it. They came back advising against this and with this report she justified annulling completely the 2000 building licence. The hotel owner took her to court, won the case so that he now believes that this will permit him to go ahead.
Finally, if you’re interested in reading up on how we got here, there are several articles in our online archives: Almuñécar 5-Star Doomed, No Hope for 5-Star Hotel and 5-Star Hotel Debated, all from 2018.
(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)