24 May, 2010 @ 12:38
1 min read

Has Andalucía gone insane?!

A MADCAP project that could ruin Ronda’s emblematic Tajo gorge has come under heavy criticism.

The eight-storey hotel and shopping complex has been described as “crazy” and “insane”.

The scheme – which has been included as part of Ronda’s new PGOU town plan – also counts on a large car park.

“It is completely ignoring protection laws and, worse still, will be an insult to the intelligence of Ronda’s residents if such a monstrosity is built.

It even includes an escalator or lift up into the old town beside the famous bridge.

“It is an insane plan and doesn’t make any sense,” explained councillor Rafa Ruiz, who is the leader of Ronda’s IU party.

“It is completely ignoring protection laws and, worse still, will be an insult to the intelligence of Ronda’s residents if such a monstrosity is built.

“I am just praying that the local people see sense and this crazy scheme never gets off the ground.”

The bizarre plan – hatched by planning chiefs in Ronda – has led to widespread bemusement and disbelief.

It is just one of a number of eccentric ideas that Andalucia’s officials currently have on the cards for the region.

These include the Pelli Tower in Sevilla, that would see the city lose its UNESCO protection status, as well as a plan to build a leisure complex and golf course beside the historic Trafalgar lighthouse, near Vejer.

Another idea mooted this week is to change the name of Malaga’s airport from Pablo Ruiz Picasso to, simply, Costa del Sol airport.

But the 16,000m² project at the foot of the historic Tajo gorge in Ronda takes some beating.

Green group Ecologistas en Accion has been left dumbfounded by Ronda’s extravagant proposal.

“There are so many places to build more shops and a hotel around the town, I have no idea why they are intending to spoil the lovely Tajo,” said spokesperson Juan Terroba.

“It would cause extensive environmental damage. What’s more it would definitely break the law of historical heritage.”

Parking spaces and roads will also be incorporated in the unconventional complex.

Currently designated as protected land, the gorge is the postcard scene tourists associate with the inland town.

Construction work is earmarked to begin at the foot of the popular barrio San Francisco, at the southern end of town.

Planners insist it will serve as “a vital development that will improve accessibility between the south and Ronda’s historic zone.”

But Terroba added: “The project has only been proposed to suit the needs of developers.

“I just hope this potential car crash is prevented before the first brick gets laid.”

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es


  1. Not to mention the “mushrooms” in Seville, now nearly double over budget, and not even viable to be built as planned, because of a mistake the architect made about weight of materials. The Ayto knew, and carried on with the project for two years anyway. Completely bonkers.

  2. OP, you forgot to mention what they’ve already done to the Ermita de la Guia in Jerez. A beautiful little chapel which marked the entrance to the town completely stuffed up by the 10 storey monstrosity they parked only a few meters away from it.

  3. I have never come across a bigger collective of stupidness as I have done in andalucia. Reports like this continue to confirm that this is certainly the case. Do these people actually possess a working brain?

  4. As someone who lives in Valencia, I have to take my sombrero off to you. For crazed urban development this really has to be unbeatable. What you going to do next – turn the Alhambra in to shopping mall ?

  5. This region of Spain has to be the most picturesque, the most culturally satisfying and the most enjoyable to live in or to visit. Why are people hell-bent on ruining it? Is it purely for “economic” reasons – construction will keep jobs up for a while? I fail to see how any of the projects outlined augment beauty, history or pure enjoyment of the region.

  6. It’s probably dependent on the size of wad the developers offer the mayor. Anyway, clearly they need a new shopping centre in Ronda, just like they needed all the new access roads into the town. They definitely don’t need to worry about the third-world-country style broken roads around Llano de la Cruz, Arriate and Ronda la Vieja. They’ve got grander things to worry about … with bigger back-handers.

  7. In Loma Leon which is a small rural village in Axarquia (Cutar is the municipal area). The have put street lights which are on all night dusk till dawn which is also madness.

  8. As someone that was born and raised in Andalucia, this article hurts me deeply. I have a hard time understanding the reasoning behind approving this project except for corruption, which is unfortunately common. However, I think it is a mistake to generalize by saying that Andalucia is insane. I agree many officials are ignorant and many people do not appreciate their resources, but Andalucia is a big region with 8 million people. Many people appreciate and care about their resources, there are multiple andalusian organizations trying to stop these projects.Also I still believe that Andalucia is richest region in Spain in number of resources, cultural, historical, natural, etc..

  9. Mari Paz Fernandez mayoress, interviewed in Voz de Ronda 26 November…(on the Casa Rúa project to build 22 luxury villas and a 75 room SEVEN star hotel on the cornisa del Tajo, in a protected area) “we must let this project go forward, it’s going to have positive repercussions on the town”; (on the new visitor reception centre to be built in the so far unspoilt barrio de San Francisco side of town, in the protected Casco antiguo area) “we will be approving this project shortly”; (on the re-zoning of protected land around the new hospital, for shopping developments) approved by the new town council in July and the now proposed high speed freight line through the Llano de la Cruz which the mayoress has conspicuously so far yet to oppose. The planning and development vice, responsible for the urban sprawl that is blighting Ronda’s magnificent setting, is tightening its jaws and soon there will be nothing left. Only the relative newcomers can see it, it seems. If the new national government has decided that only Germany can save Spain then why not, in Ronda, decide that only the guiris can save what’s left of Ronda’s beauty. The Llano de la Cruz association will never be accused of nimby-ism as a lot of them fought hard against Los Merinos…use the momentum from your protest and start fighting the other projects, too. A hint: they can all be opposed and reversed because what looks like madness, IS madness and if people say ” that can’t be legal” it’s because it isn’t.

  10. The train lines, freight or Ave, would be great for Ronda. They are going to go through an already over-developed and ugly area, and it’s only when they’re a long way beyond Ronda (ie Setenil to Alcala to Almargen) that anyone should care, when the lines will pass through some genuinely previously unspoilt countryside. Llano de la Cruz? Hardly a stunning natural wilderness is it?

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