How financially strong is your town hall?

Why sussing out your local authority is fundamental before buying

LAST UPDATED: 12 Nov, 2016 @ 08:04
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Columnist Campbell Ferguson

THE decision to buy a house is not just down to the attractiveness of the rooms, garden, location or general surroundings.

Consider the financial strength of the town hall, because if we compare Benahavís with Estepona, we get very different pictures.

Benahavís is reportedly one of the richest municipalities in Spain, though it doesn’t have a coastline.

How can that be? It’s because it contains so much natural advantages in south-facing slopes, tree-covered mountainsides, extensive views along the coastline and the mountain ranges towards Ronda.

La Zagaleta
La Zagaleta

Los Arqueros, La Quinta, Monte Mayor, La Heredia, El Madroñal and La Zagaleta contribute significantly to the town’s wealth and the village is very picturesque.

For residents of Benahavís there are a great many free sports, leisure and other facilities on offer.

The town hall also supports Malaga football club and organises free bus trips for residents of the municipality to all home games.

The money from building licence fees and taxes is a constant source of funding for these services.

So, buying a house in Benahavís municipality is a good idea, giving confidence for continued support.

Estepona
Estepona

Estepona appears to be different entirely. Reportedly heavily in debt and with a history of past municipal corruption trials, this town appears to be squandering its natural assets.

The long coastline with fine beaches and tree clad mountainsides provides fine views and secluded residences.

The town is bigger than Benahavís and has better shopping and other commercial outlets.

The residents have made very successful efforts to beautify the town in providing permanent flower displays all along the traditional streets.

The recently created orchid house, right in the centre, is a spectacular and attractive building. Many plain building facades have been decorated with imaginative murals, all combining to make it a pleasant place to visit and walk around.

However, away from the town centre and beaches, everything is not so pretty, as the town hall cannot afford sufficient employees for the municipal work required and has paid those they have on an irregular basis.

Income should be coming in from building licensing, but it appears that there is an illogical mindset in not taking advantage of the natural assets that they have.

A prime example of this is to be found in the Guadalmansa valley, inland from the high-quality Cabo Bermeja development and Las Dunas Hotel.

There are many areas zoned for prime residential development, hotels and all that is required to create another prosperous ‘Nueva Andalucía’ type area.

Nueva Andalucia
Nueva Andalucia

But the councillors of the municipality appear to be supporting the installation of a compost factory right in the centre of it.

That is not a good neighbour and who is going to want to live anywhere near it, and who is going to finance and carry out these developments?

A councillor’s life is not an easy one, but a decision such as this, supporting the ambition of one small factory in the wrong place, cannot be seen in any way as financially logical for the town and its citizens as a whole.

So, in addition to checking the building condition and the history of the urbanisation, the prudent buyer should look to the medium-term to see how the Municipality itself is run. What support and preservation of facilities and environment the municipality is likely to be able to provide? Decisions such as Estepona’s are not encouraging for the town’s finances.



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  1. This text post is a shame.
    Benahavis is the preferred place for the rich because the town hall allows the massive destruction of nature in those places which are far enough away from the center of the village, so that the destruction cannot be viewed by people visiting the old village of Benahavis.
    You want examples?: Go to the “Benahavis Hills Country Club” which destroyed much of the original hiking path running from Benahavis to Montemayor and the woods below the summit of Montemayor.
    At the entrance of the Marbella Road into the old village turn left into “Calle La Coja” which leads you uphills to the opposite side of “Benahavis Hills Country Club”. Do you feel as if you were driving on a tank road through a landscape where all trees have been exterminated.
    Have a visit at “Colf and Country Club Montemayor” to see how this urbanization has intercepted the hiking path from Cancelada to Montemayor and has hit a deep swath into the hills of Sierra Bermeja.
    Officially Spain allows buildings of 12 squaremeters called “toolshed” to be placed into the forests. Please compare the villas there with toolsheds! You will be excited.
    As of waste: Have a walk to “Gran Hotel Benahavis. There take the road between the sports ground and the Hotel. Walk until the paved part of this road ends. What will you see there?

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