The Collar tightens

LAST UPDATED: 30 Oct, 2008 @ 15:20
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Environmentalists slam plans to develop ‘Special Protection’ zone above the A7 motorway

Environmentalists slam plans to develop ‘Special Protection’ zone above the A7 motorwayTHE Collar of Concrete strangling inland Andalucia is pulling tighter.

The once-sacrosanct area inland from the A7 motorway is under threat of mass development.

Until now, unwritten rules had been observed to avoid building in the area. But now, cash-hungry Torremolinos town hall is looking for more green land to develop.

Under new plans, a series of housing schemes have received initial approval in the Sierra de Mijas.

The projects will see hundreds of new homes scarring the hillside.

Environmentalists believe that neighbouring Benalmadena town hall will quickly follow suit if the projects get the go ahead.

So far there have been hundreds of complaints from political parties and environmental groups.

The IU party has filed a total of 30 allegations, insisting that the area comes under the Special Protection Plan for Malaga province.

Falling under the area known as CS-3, the group insists it should get maximum protection.

A spokesman said: “At a time when the Costa del Sol is seeking to redefine itself to increase the quality of its tourism appeal, we cannot understand how they would try to authorise housing estates in a nature zone.”

Further complaints came from wildlife group SEO Birdlife, which insists the development will put at risk a large amount of rare birds and mammals. “We know that a large number of eagles and mountain goats inhabit this area,” said a spokesman. “The area has great biological diversity.”

Despite permission not yet being agreed, the Olive Press found a series of new slip roads were already being built as the first stages of the development were being landscaped.

As well as huge piles of gravel and sand, the roads had been marked out and diggers and lorries shifted tons of earth.

Local bar owner Kevin Garron said: ‘We always understood that they would never build above the motorway.But now it looks like an earthquake has already hit the area. Many residents are up in arms about it’.

It was not clear why the works had begun without the correct permissions.

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