By Jared Garland

ONE of the most controversial developments in Andalucia’s history may become a reality after all.

But the Los Merinos golf and housing complex slated for destroying UNESCO-protected land near Ronda will be a much toned-down version of the threatened macro project.

The scheme to build over 800 houses, two golf courses and a hotel over 10 square kilometres of woodland became the centre of a long-running dispute between the developers, environmentalists and the local authority.

In fact, the first ever issue of the Olive Press campaigned against the proposal, back in November 2006.

Now, after an eight-year legal battle, the development company will finally start paying off the €8.5 million debt it owes to Ronda Town Hall.

The Andalucian Supreme court has ruled in favor of Ronda, which has been owed a total of €19 million since 2006, when Los Merinos started its development plan.

The payments came to a screeching halt when the company froze the project after finding itself unable to pay Ronda the agreed €1.5 million per year until 2016.

In addition to repaying debts, this means the company will also be able to move ahead with the housing development.

However, the new plan cuts out one golf course and some 50% of the houses initially planned.

Ronda Golf and Country Club manager Juan Rueda affirms that the new development is a much greener initiative.

The project, still pending Junta and town hall approval, should will be built with ‘less water usage, less energy consumption, less environmental impact and greater sustainability’.

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