By JENNY KEANE in Cadiz
LONG evenings spent lounging on the beach, mojito in hand, while watching the sun go down could be a thing of the past after one local council on the Costa de la Luz banned all chiringuitos this summer.
El Palmar has long been a mecca for surfers and a popular chill-out place in the summer, when hundreds meet at chiringuitos like El Aborígena (pictured) at sunset.
But now Vejer council has said that no beach bars will be allowed this year because of what they say are problems caused by big groups of youngsters having drinking parties on the beach, and the resulting health and safety hazards like broken glass in the sand.
The measure has been welcomed by the El Palmar Residents Association whose president, Luis Alférez, said they had received many complaints from visitors last year.
“What we want is a clean and safe area, parking and the infrastructure to cope with more and more visitors every year,” he said.
Other local businesses, however, have criticised the ban. The Asociación de Empresarios de Playas de Cádiz said the chiringuitos provided “an excellent service for thousands of users of the beaches at El Palmar.”
No other towns had taken such a drastic measure, it pointed out.
One local hostel owner said it signalled the authorities’ desire to change the nature of this laid-back seaside resort.
“El Palmar has traditionally attracted young, sporty people,” said Thierry Lopez of Hostal La Gallega.
“The mayor of Vejer seems to want to bring in a different kind of tourism – more upmarket. But we’re just not geared up for four and five-star hotels here. It would completely alter the character of the place.”