Junta stops construction plans for Europe’s largest land-maritime nature reserve

THE regional government has moved to end urban speculation in the protected Cabo de Gata Natural Park.

In reclassifying almost 10,000 hectares of land, three controversial development projects will be now shelved.

A project that would have seen 150 homes built in the hamlet of La Fabriquilla and a luxury tourist and residential complex at Agua Amarga will not go ahead.

The Junta de Andalucía also reaffirmed its intent on demolishing the controversial El Algarrobico hotel, built on virgin sands in Carboneras.

This ends recent speculation the hotel, which was declared illegal by an Almería court in 2006, could still open for business under a deal struck between the Junta, the development company and the town hall.

The two plots of land surrounding the 411-bed complex have also been reclassified. Development plans for that land, which included housing estates, a second hotel and even a golf course, will also be cancelled after the reclassifications come into effect on January 1, 2008.

“The object of the reclassifications is to put an end to the type of degradation seen by the Algarrobico hotel,” Fuensanta Coves, the chief of environment at the regional government, said.

Green groups, who had petitioned the European Union to stop proposed construction in the protected park, welcomed the moves, stating them a “victory for the environment.”

The mayor of Níjar criticised the move, stating the regional government should now offer compensation.

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