EXCLUSIVE By Paul Whitelock and Jon Clarke
A PROPOSED route for a new AVE high speed rail line would cause ‘total destruction’ for one of Ronda’s key valleys.
Hundreds of homeowners and hoteliers would be affected if a route published last week was to be built.
Part of the so-called ‘Mediterranean Corridor’, the line – one of six suggested – would cut through the stunning Llano de la Cruz valley, where British Prime Minister David Cameron and celebrities including DJ Fatboy Slim and actor Adrien Brody have previously stayed.
While conclusions appear to show that the preferred route will be on the existing line from Antequera to Algeciras, homeowners are extremely sceptical after seeing the maps and the apparent costings.
“It just does not add up,” said businessman Nick Smallwood, whose property would lose much of its gardens.
“We cannot see how the new fast track train plus all the extra freight would stay on the existing line through Arriate. It is far too windy and will slow things down dramatically.
“Plus if the government has already budgeted 700-odd million euros for this small stretch I am extremely sceptical.
“Certainly if it comes through the valley, it will destroy a lot of livelihoods and lay waste to the area’s natural beauty. It will be a disaster for the Ronda area.”
Another English hotelier, who asked to remain anonymous, was concerned that the works required to upgrade the line from Ronda to La Indiana would blight her hotel for years to come and could put them out of business.
On the published map (see above) a number of key hotels in the valley will be seriously threatened, with one, Hotel Don Benito, completely erased.
The plan published in the government’s official State Bulletin (BOE) concludes however, that the ‘preferred option’ is to take the existing route to Ronda.
It also means there will be no new station, as widely reported, in La Indiana and AVE speeds will be reduced to just 220kph.
Route ‘Number 4’ has apparently been chosen as it is the cheapest and least disruptive.
Costing 711.47million euros, it will also have less environmental impact than some of the other proposals.
One local British railway engineer, remains extremely sceptical however and has already called in lawyers to investigate.
“I don’t trust this announcement,” he told the Olive Press.
“Similar things happened in Girona and Valencia, where proposals were put out to public consultation, only for something completely different to be built.”
A public consultation of 30 working days has now begun and the details are available in town halls along the route.
No dates are given for the start of the work.