Alhambra golf battle in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 1 Dec, 2011 @ 09:12
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Alhambra golf battle in Spain

EXCLUSIVE By Wendy Williams

RESIDENTS have joined forces with environmental groups to stop a ‘ridiculous’ scheme to build a golf course and hotel opposite the Alhambra.

The project, which has been granted planning permission by Granada town hall, will see a luxury development constructed on the site of the now derelict Cortijo de Jesus del Valle.

But protest groups, which include 15M, have formed the Platform for the Protection of the Rio Darro Valley and are calling on the Junta to declare the valley off limits for development.

It is the last unspoilt area of countryside near the city centre and was declared a site of specific cultural interest in 2005.

Developer Avila Rojas – who is on trial in Marbella’s Malaya corruption trial – has already been sentenced to eight years in prison for an earlier 10m euro fraud case.

“This just shows the negligence of the culture department in allowing businessman Jose Avila Rojas to fulfil his dream of building a hotel here,” said a spokesman for Ecologistas en Accion.

The project has also raised fears of new roads being built through the valley as the hotel would need to be made accessible.

“Any project to restore the building will require access and it has sadly become a case of save the building or the valley,” explained Jane Brooke, a member of the Platform.

Novelist Brooke actually based a book A Darker Night, on property speculation taking place, in part, below the Alhambra.

“It is not entirely a coincidence, the valley has been under threat for a long time,” she added.

“But it is really impressive how unspoilt the countryside is around the Alhambra so it would be a tragedy for that to be destroyed. It is a ridiculous scheme.”

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