29 Dec, 2011 @ 11:33
1 min read

Don’t ruin Ronda’s valley, says former mayor

A FORMER Ronda mayor has pleaded for a rethink on a freight train plan that would ruin the town’s key tourist valley.

Manuel Garcia Rubio insists the so-called Mediterranean Corridor should not be carved through the ‘magnificent’ Llano de la Cruz valley.

The former socialist mayor insists the area – that has half a dozen hotels and up to 40 rental homes – is vital for the economy and environment.

He said: “This plan would destroy this magnificent valley and anyone with a modicum of interest in the environment should oppose it,” he said.

“I really hope the techicians find another way to bring it through.”

His words come as the deadline passed to make public allegations against the project that could see up to 80 freight trains a day travel from Algeciras north via Ronda.

Over 500 people signed a petition to put the line in a tunnel and a number of organisations, including the IU party, Ecologistas en
Accion and SEO birdlife, have demanded changes.

Ronda’s current mayor Maripaz Fernandez also insists the line causes minimal damage and wants it to come via the town centre and stay on the existing line.

She insists Madrid agrees with this plan, although the Ministry of Public Works has not yet confirmed it would allow the line to be put underground in the town centre.

At a meeting with residents she was unable to say how many freight trains would run a day or how they would get up the famously windy, narrow stretch of line going past Arriate.

“That is up to the technicians to work out,” she said, adding: “We want it to cause minimal environmental damage and it is vital to protect the valley.”

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.

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  1. “We’d like it to go over the moon and then via Pluto. It’s up to the technicians to work out how to do that …”. How ridiculous the Mayor’s comments are! She clearly knows absolutely nothing, so why doesn’t she say so? Of course it’ll go through the valley, the sooner everyone admits it the better for those directly effected. To prolong their agony with false hope is selfish in the extreme!

  2. Anna. Sadly I have to agree with you. The technicians and engineers have spent many years on these plans, they were not just sketched out last month. The line south has been upgraded; the tunnels made ready. The only thing missing is the tunnelling machine which I understand is stuck underground towards Granada. A project of this magnitude is not going to fall because of the protests of “half a dozen hotels and…40 rental homes.” That is not how it works.

  3. At least someone out there sees it for what it is! We should get together sometime … for we are the only sane ones!
    No, don’t be scared PM … I’m perfectly normal, honest!

  4. Anna. I live fairly close and have many friends in the valley, including hotel and holiday home owners. I deeply sympathise with their plight. They are in a dreadful position, since the Compulsory Purchase compensation is unlikely to come anywhere near their actual loss. The whole valley has however been in denial for the last 5 years. One knew of the plans, but stopped talking about them 2 years ago because he became the victim of serious abuse. The decision was taken a long time ago, at very high level, and the funding was set aside. Whether a group of ex-pats can change it is very doubtful.

  5. I’m sure you’re right PM … and we should feel enormous sympathy for anyone directly affected. It’ll be better when it’s finished, at least new buyers to the area will know what they are entering into. For anyone already there, they’ll have to bite the bullet I think – selling up won’t be easy, even if they could morally do that.

  6. Potential sales are already falling through, purely because of the uncertainty. In any development there will always be winners and losers. At the moment everyone is a loser, because of the uncertainty.

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