2 Apr, 2014 @ 11:46
2 mins read

DISGRACE: El Algarrobico hotel declared legal…. Have your say, legal or not?

GREENPEACE has slammed the ‘dark forces’ that it claims are behind the inexplicable decision to legalise the El Algarrobico hotel.

The environmental group and the Junta have now appealed the decision of the Andalucian high court (TSJA) to overturn a ruling that the 20-storey monstrosity was built illegally on a protected virgin beach in Almeria.

They fear it will now open the door to a golf course, 1,500 homes and EIGHT more hotels in the area.

Another green group Salvar Mojacar have put in an official complaint against the trio of judges behind the decision – Rafael Cantero, Jorge Munoz Cortes and Maria del Mar Jimenez Morera – claiming corruption.

Others have questioned why their ruling, due on February 25, was suddenly delayed by a month at the last minute.

Claims of corruption have been joined by cries of anger from expats Len and Helen Prior whose nearby home was demolished – without compensation – six years ago.

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Len Prior told the Olive Press this week: “It is a disgrace. How can they get away with this?”

Their home in Vera was demolished in January 2008 with the wave of a pen due to ‘planning irregularities’.

“We were 100% legal and everyone else’s house is still standing,” added Prior. “We are still fighting for compensation and still in the same place that we were six years ago.

“This news makes us sick to the stomach. It’s real hypocrisy.”

The Olive Press can reveal that the company behind the development, Azata del Sol, is already linked in two other corruption cases, the Astapa scandal in Estepona – where it planned to build the largest commercial centre in Spain – and even the infamous Gurtel case, which links the government in Madrid to illegal cash payments.

The company built the La Alcazaba urbanisation of 219 luxury homes in Boadilla del Monte, which was described as causing the ‘Marbellisation’ of the area. The mayor of Boadilla, Arturo Gonzalez Panero, was later indicted in the Gurtel case.

The ruling also contradicts the TSJA’s OWN ruling in 2012, when the court decreed that the land, located in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park was NOT suitable for building and should be given ‘special protection’.

It also came after the Junta and the national government had recently publicly agreed to share the cost of its demolition. The Junta has even already set aside €7 million for it.

This weekend, Junta President Susana Diaz said that she would use ‘all possible means’ to halt further work, which leaves the Junta in the surreal situation of battling its own High Court.

Construction on the hotel had originally been halted in 2006 when the building, which is less than 15 metres from the sea, was deemed to be in flagrant breach of the ley de Costas.

Despite environmental groups protesting against it, builders worked around the clock to construct the 411-room hotel.

They continued even when Greenpeace activisits dubbed the word ‘illegal’ on the front of the hotel in giant letters.

Now the environmentalists are concerned that if work on the project is allowed to continue it will also pave the way for the developers to start work on an urbanisation of 1,500 homes, eight further luxury hotels and a golf course, which had initially been planned alongside the Algarrobico.

This is despite all of them being supposedly protected by the natural park boundary.

Curiously when the Olive Press visited the site a day before the ruling was due in February, a group of builders were doing some sort of work there.

Jaime del Val, president of Salvar Mojacar, described the ruling as ‘extremely worrying’ and set a ‘very dangerous’ precedent.

He continued: “It is a ‘setback against the people and against the fight against speculation and corruption.”

A spokesman for Greenpeace added that it was ‘not normal procedure for the same court that condemned the hotel as illegal to now ignore that ruling’.

If completed, he added, the environmental group ‘has lost eight years of struggle’.

Salvador Hernandez, mayor of Carboneras, however welcomed the TSJA’s decision, saying that it coincided with ‘the best interests of our town’.

Tom Powell

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  1. Why is anyone suprised??? This is just a normal action of the authorites in Spain. One more reason why Spain is viewed as a joke around the world.
    Marca España – ‘Experts in corruption since 1939’

  2. I couldn’t give a **** what the Junta de Andalucia or their environmentalist cronies think and anything that damages them is good by me.

    But I do care very much about the thousands of people like Helen and Len Prior who the Junta have subjected to years of pain and misery because of their pathetic political ideology and sheer incompetence.

    This is yet another example of how utterly useless the Junta de Andalucia are and they should be kicked out now. CALL AN IMMEDIATE AMNESTY.

  3. It would be nice if they could make a decision and stick to it, any decision really, it is no good there abandoned, so knock it down or let it go ahead. I have been past the place, and I know you will call me ignorant but it is located in a pile of dust and rocks, maybe they would protect the odd snake or rat but you don’t see much wildlife there, most Spanish have already put anything that moves on their plate. The Prior’s case, a National disgrace for Spain and I believe they are still living in a garage and have not been compensated. Worked all their lives to end up in a garage because of politicians. This case has cost the Spanish Government hundreds of millions in lost revenue. The media is the only thing that is going to hurt them even more. Maybe contact ITV and if you have enough cases they could make a ‘living in Spain’ programme, a bit like benefits street, but they could call it homeless and desperate street. Imagine that, follow the lives of many under threat for a year, the worry, the potential outcome, back to old blighty, what people have had to do to get to Spain in the first place.. It would be a big hit. Not sure why they have not done that yet. Have the AUAN on this if that is what they are called. A bit more pressure needs to be applied I would think. That programme would be sold around the world.

  4. Reap: that is a fantastic idea, does anyone out there have any contacts at ITV? It would certainly make good viewing and give them the bad publicity they deserve but nobody would ever buy property in Spain again and we would have no chance of ever selling our place over there. Perhaps it would be a price worth paying to get justice.

    These “protestors” are a crowd of hypocrites, they don’t give a damn about the environment, they just hide behind it because they are cowards that don’t have the courage of their own convictions. And where were they when the Priors and others were having their houses demolished by the Junta de Andalucia, out with their placards being good environmentalists, socialists and communists caring about the “little people” – yeah right.

    Don’t you just love that part about the Junta setting aside €7 million to pay for the demolition. Unbelievable when you consider they are skint and still haven’t paid the Priors, the Brooks or any of the other victims any meaningful compensation. Their own people are living in virtual poverty and yet they are happy to spend €7 million of tax payers’ money on a “demolition project”. Disgusting.

    The big question is when is this going to end and when is someone in higher authority going to step in? The place is on its knees and has virtually ground to a halt with sky high unemployment, businesses going bankrupt, a deader than dead housing market and a stinking reputation. Just how bad does it have to get? The status quo is simply not sustainable and I can see Andalucia going completely broke before long. It is a place with no future.

  5. welcome to reality..where your civil rights are just words on a paper, where the King and honour member of WWF, shoots elephants …where his doughter says 250 times “i don t remember” in a court-casa against her and legality depends on a thick brwon envelope…the past has shown that thngs only change after a revolution, and we are heading that way …

  6. My thoughts are that they need something so bad that they will be forced into action. Many have done a good job so far but it needs to be taken to the next level. They would need to get a few other Nationalities in there as well, Germans, Spanish etc otherwise it would end up with Brits unhappy in Spain rather than all Nationalities. It should be a programme that when translated back and shown on Spanish TV or even youtube that the average Spanish citizen looks at it and they are ashamed with what they are doing to ordinary people who are being left with nothing. They need to feel disgusted and embraced about their politicians. A programme like that could change public opinion overnight. Turfing out pensioners onto the street.

  7. I’m with Reap. All animals are not created equal in Spain.
    I’ve left and my family is soon to follow. Our legal house a complete loss due to corruption and an over supply of housing.
    Costa del Sol had three industries; tourism, constuction and corruption. The latter two have destroyed the former for me.

  8. But did we expect anything else? Surely there’s too much Mafia money involved? The time has been well spent sorting out who-gets-what for support in keeping this eye sore, even to making even worse with more development.
    I attended a meeting recently discussing the housing issue and a local Spanish man stood up in despair to say his house was going to be knocked down. He said “I spent 30 years in England and came back home to find the whole country corrupt, politicians, judges, the lot. I wish I’d stayed in England”
    Seems if you’re poor, a peasant, an ordinary hard-working man, a pensioner, unemployed, etc., the law can be changed at will to make sure you can’t win.
    Spain has a huge top layer of “administration” which is vilely corrupt and cowardly. If you have money, no problem, you can do anything, walk over anyone and repress everyone else even to the extent of knocking down their homes.
    Spain, your political and legal system stinks like a pile of dog s..t. What you need is a totally independent panel of judges with guts, such as Judge Mercedes Alaya and Judge Baltasar Garzon to investigate all involved in this and other, criminal conspiracies. Sort out the judges and politicians with oversized and overseas bank accounts, etc. Problem is there are not enough prisons to house them all.

  9. An amnesty would only make matters worse, and would only encourage *more* illegal building. If there were a serious number of jobs at stake I’d be inclined to give it the go-ahead in return for guarantee of hiring X% local staff on full, permanent contracts, with say at least X% being under 30 (say 80% local of whom 70% are under 30) but El Pais are saying only around 80 permanent jobs would be created. That’s not a very good deal for the community in return for having a full scale model of the Great Pyramid of Giza sitting on the beach.

  10. As we all know, it was a wrong decision to build right from the beginning, but it’s now there and I suppose the power’s to be have perhaps decided that it will create jobs and attract tourists to that area. Interesting to see the final outcome.

  11. Why the surprise? I have lived here for twenty odd years and nothing has changed. The Spanish are, and always will be, a law unto themselves.Having had several businesses in Spain I can say categorically that corruption is the only way to get things done. I ran a Bar/Restaurant for nine year without an Opening License, why?
    I was informed, by a senior planning officer that to issue said licence he would require 5k euros to ‘grease the wheels’
    (A favourite phrase in Spain) I had him on video stating this, subsequently I never heard another thing about the ‘Licencia de Apertura’ I have since sold the business and the new owner (Spanish) had the Licence within two weeks.

  12. “These “protestors” are a crowd of hypocrites, they don’t give a damn about the environment, they just hide behind it because they are cowards that don’t have the courage of their own convictions.”
    What an incredibly stupid, offensive remark. Many of us have sacrificed careers, money and much else because we care. You people, on the other hand, can only ever see financial profit or loss – and only your own or that of your own sort of people, preferably from your own country.
    If you seriously believe that a monstrous great hotel complex 15m from the shore in Cabo de Gata, a unique area in the whole of Europe, is comparable to the Priors’ villa, you must need glasses. We don’t approve of their having built there, either – they shouldn’t have done it. The very few partially-unspoilt areas we have MUST be saved and protected. I’d demolish that hotel myself if I could.

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