The Almuñécar Town Hall has renewed an accord after almost 25 years, which deals with the Catastro on which property tax is based.
Fermín Tejero, who is the local party leader of the IU, said that he was very surprised by the recent contradictions to come out of the Junta de Andalucía and the Town Hall on matters of urban development. The latest are concerned with two buildings in La Herradura: Hotel Fuerte and the sports Pavilion.
The Councillor considers that the Mayor’s take on the recent court ruling is ‘out of touch with reality’ concerning the sports building. It is not true, as the Mayor states that the courts have decided in his favour – what happened was that the court did not examine the evidence because the appeal had been presented outside the time limit established.
The Councillor thinks that it is lamentable that the legal services of the Junta have again presented an appeal too late – something that has happened on several occasions, leading one to wonder because ‘it is not logical that these supposed errors occur with such regularity.’
Looking deeper into the question, Sr. Tejero considers that it is incongruent to denounce a sports centre for public use and authorise a private hotel, which is precisely what the Junta has done. If the land on which they are built is not for building, then neither is acceptable, but if one is to be chosen for acceptance then social uses should take preference over private ones.
The origin of all the court cases is an illegal action by the Town Hall, which built a sports centre without waiting for the land to be declared (by the Junta) ‘of public utility.’ As has become habitual for the Mayor, he simply skipped the administrative steps laid down by law and went ahead and built the centre, but fortunately for him, those in charge of the Commission for Urban Development for the Junta de Andalucía had again moved to slowly.
It is not reasonable, the IU councillor believes, that the Junta should wait two years to move against an illegal building. In his opinion, to denounce the sports centre when it was practically finished shows (administrative) clumsiness or a ‘hidden willingness to threaten but not carry through with it,’ which in practice is allowing Benavides to build anything that he wants. He says that this means that the Junta is playing along with Benavides’ game, since his ‘excesses’ end up being legalised, as was the case of the Vivienda Joven (in Torrecuveas).
The Councillor says that the IU is totally against the urban development encroachments into the vega, as is the case with modificaciones puntuales to the PGOU
Nevertheless, Fermín Tejero maintains that legalities (court sentences) must be carried out and adhered to, even if we don’t agree with them. The fact is that the Junta, after spending several years opposing Hotel Fuerte, changed their criteria and removed their opposition on the 1st of March 2007, giving their approval of modificación puntual 98. From that moment on there was no legal impediment to building the hotel, so the Town Council issued a building licence in May 2008. For circumstances that are not completely understood, after the building developers had delayed the commencement of work, the Town Hall surprisingly decided to annul the original building licence. The company immediately submitted their case before the law courts, which clearly shows their interest in carrying out the project.
Therefore, Fermín Tejero denounces the fact that after so much criticism of the Junta for opposing the hotel project, the Town Hall now has the project on hold because of a problem of ‘little relevance;’ i.e., the developers did not submit a written request for an extension of the building licence or pay the ICIO (tax). The Councillor considers it unjust that hotels have to pay this building tax whilst other businesses or individuals that also contribute to the creation of employment do not, but, he insists, this regulation was approved by the Town Hall and should be applied to every hotel, without discriminating against one in particular.