By Eloise Horsfield
THE illegal Algarrobico hotel has come closer to being demolished after the environment bosses of both the Junta and Madrid signed a statement of intent.
The pair – whose departments will share the cost – have commissioned environment company Tragsa to knock down the 411-room eyesore.
The company will also be tasked with clearing up the debris and restoring the area to its original state, a job estimated at €300 million back in November 2011.
The move, which Junta environment boss Luis Planas has called ‘good for the image of Andalucia and Spain’, has brought renewed hope to environmentalists who have battled for years to see it knocked down.
But, Planas admitted that he could not give a date when the hotel, build just yards from a beach inside Almeria’s Cabo de Gata Natural Park, would come down.
Some local groups however insist knocking down the hotel will only heighten poverty in Almeria.
Some 16 town halls have already rallied together to support keeping it, insisting it would create 300 jobs.
“Destroying it is seen by many of the poor and unemployed here as rich foreigners forcing their views and beliefs onto this little community,” said expat Bridget Cosgrove.
“There are people still washing their clothes in springs here with home-made soap. Many of the protesters have no idea of the poverty here.”
However the hotel, which never had a licence, was ruled illegal by the Spanish Supreme Court in March.
Environmentalists insist that knocking it down will actually create as many jobs. They add that the area does not in fact need any more hotels as the region’s existing ones are rarely over 50 per cent full.