CELEBRATED writer Chris Stewart has slammed the corrupt political system that is concreting over the natural environment of Spain at “an alarming pace.”

Chris StewartTalking exclusively to the Olive Press, the Driving over Lemons author said he was disgusted with the current spread of urban developments in the interior of Spain.

“I have seen what is happening here. Urbanisation and corruption in the town halls is the biggest threat to the country of Spain.”

Speaking out from his home near Órgiva, Granada, the former Genesis drummer added: “Developers will not stop as long as they are making a profit.

“They know it is against the law and they will eventually get caught out, but they just do not care. Even the ministry of justice seems powerless to stop it.

“They are even bricking over the national parks. It is awful. We all need to fight tooth and nail against it.”

Local concerns

Standing for the Green Party in his local town of Órgiva, Granada, he is highly concerned about plans for a local golf course and 1,200 houses planned.

“Golf courses are my bete noir. I hate golf courses and the way they are used to get planning permission for houses.

“They give everyone the impression they will make lots of money, but in truth most of the money goes out of the region and into the pockets of a small few.
“On top of that, it brings a couple of menial jobs at the most.”

He continued: “In Órgiva, they are going to level off a huge area of natural beauty. They can more or less carve out anything these days. It makes me so angry.”

National worries

He has also criticised politicians and developers in Ronda, who are destroying “much of the famous natural beauty of the area” with their plans for the Los Merinos luxury golf complex.

Speaking out after living in the country for almost 20 years, he said: “It is appalling what is happening in Ronda. My heart goes out to the area.”

He continued: “My interpreter was recently planning to move back to Spain from Scotland and was considering Ronda because the countryside is so beautiful. But her brother who lives there told her not to bother as the beauty of the area is rapidly being destroyed. It is breaking my heart.”


“Everything is being destroyed for the greater good of a few speculators. It is essential that papers like the Olive Press continue to point out what is really going on,” he said.

Stewart – who has recently published his third book The Almond Blossom
Appreciation Society – believes that Spain is facing environmental and financial ruin if it continues pinning all its hopes on the tourism industry.

“It is a crime to pin all the country’s hopes on the sacred cow of tourism. There has already been a slowdown and with global warming it is going to continue.
“The days of cheap flights are numbered and tourists are infamously fickle and can easily take their holidays somewhere else.

“To continue to keep building more holiday apartments all over the place can no longer be justified.”

He has been inserted at number 13 on the list of Green candidates. “It is far enough down to ensure that I will not get a job. My political aspirations are numbered to say the least. It is just giving some moral support and helping to engage the ex-pat vote.

“To be honest, I do not even go to the meetings. If I get a rare day off from work and travel I prefer to stay at home with the wife.”

But he says it is not just the foreign vote that is opposed to the alarming spread of urbanisation.

“There are a lot of Spanish people feeling disenfranchised and the average Johnny Spaniard I speak to in the streets is appalled at what is happening in the countryside.

“The problem is getting him to vote or protest as most people are scared to put their heads over the parapit. It is a hangover from the dictatorship, and while it is improving it is still there.”

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  1. If the rapid urbanisation of inland Spain shocks and disgusts you – you might be interested in the following. We recently heard that media ambiental is doing a report on the
    environmental impact of the teleferico – we have been told by some of the
    people working on this report that it shows that the teleferico should not
    be built as it will have a negative impact on the Natural and National Park
    but that the pressure from the constructors to build it is so strong that
    they believed that the report would be ignored at a political level. The
    only reason that I can see that the constructors (and backers) of the
    project are so keen to build it is that they want to urbanise large areas of
    the Natural park (ie El Purche – the late sacked concejal de urbanismo of
    Monachil – Benjamin (…I cannot remember his surname – but he was recently accused of asking for a 300,000 euro bribe to sort out over building) definitely had plans to urbanise El Purche) and also
    to help sell all the flats that they already have built. If you can make it
    and support the cause please come to the meeting (see details below – Wednesday 20 June 12.00 h to 15.00 h in front of the
    >Delegación Provincial de Medio Ambiente de Granada in c/Marqués de la
    >Ensenada, nº 1) it is very last minute
    but the more people that can come the better. As there is so much publicity supporting the
    teleferico it is important to let people know that it is not an ecologically
    friendly option – further building in the Sierra will mean lots more cars
    going up there and I can’t imagine that there are any plans to close the
    Please send this on to anyone who might be interested and have a look at the
    website (join the group if you like) – http://www.sosteleferico.com – it has only
    just been built so there is very little information on it at the moment –
    please send your comments to me or to sosteleferico@yahoo.es

    cheers Csilla

    >From: maite cruz
    >To: sosteleferico@yahoo.es
    >Subject: concentracion plataforma sosteleferico
    >Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 18:05:43 +0200 (CEST)
    >PLATAFORMA sosteleférico
    > Ante la inminente presentación de la evaluación de impacto medio
    >ambiental sobre el proyecto del Teleférico Granada – Sierra Nevada, la
    >Plataforma SOSteleférico convoca una concentración para este próximo
    >miércoles día 20 de junio desde las 12.00 h hasta las 15.00 h ante la
    >Delegación Provincial de Medio Ambiente de Granada en c/Marqués de la
    >Ensenada, nº 1, para manifestar nuestra total oposición a este proyecto por
    >considerarlo una grave amenaza para nuestro patrimonio medio ambiental.
    > Si no sabes donde está el lugar, PINCHA AQUI
    >LLama Gratis a cualquier PC del Mundo.
    >Llamadas a fijos y móviles desde 1 céntimo por minuto.

  2. I read all three books, Chris Stewart, congatulations
    Spain is being “ruined” in the same way Mexico has been, by being too near wealthy countries. The Brits – seduced by their own – have driven prices up in the rural sector and the Spanish landowners, mostly poor for centuries, have sold up, taking huge profits from fincas and the like unsellable a few years ago except for peanuts. And still greedy developers continue to destroy the beauty of Spain reducing the country to the level of awful Britain in 2007. Britain, as I write, seems headed for a huge downturn and recession. Poor world; too many homo sapiens and nowhere left to hide!

  3. I can only agree with the above comments. Including those congratulating Chris Stewart on his books. Which are simply wonderful. But don’t the above comments apply just about everywhere in europe now.a total disregard for nature or following generations.
    Mainly I thank Chris stewart for reminding me of the Spain that I first fell in love with back in the 70’s. Great website and forum too.Buena suerte. Mike

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