20 Nov, 2021 @ 10:42
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: Protected valley near Granada in southern Spain faces destruction by motorway and new homes after administrative blip

Alhambra vs Sacromonte

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are up in arms after the swish of a pen left an ancient valley near Granada’s Alhambra stripped of protective status.

They claim the bureaucratic error – deliberate or not – now leaves the Darro Valley vulnerable to the construction of a motorway, a luxury hotel and urbanisations.

The Junta has confirmed the valley was delisted in 2020 following cancellation of its Cultural Interest (BIC) status it was handed in 2017.  

It came after an administrative error and means the valley currently has no protection.

Campaigners are warning the area, which was the original source of water to the Alhambra, is now in danger of massive development unless immediate action is taken. 

Local residents and activists believe the valley – home to the Jesus del Valle monastery and the villages of Beas de Granada and Huetor Santillan – could now be vulnerable to the extension of the G30 ring road.

In particular, because the continuation of the road is part of the regional PP party’s manifesto.

“The authorities have wanted this for a long time,” Reynaldo Fernandez, a former director of the City’s Patronato history department, told the Olive Press.

“They are now starting to make the first bureaucratic steps of making studies and presenting the plans to the right institutions.”

British expat Jane Brooke,  who has lived in Spain for 14 years, said it would be ‘hugely worrying’ if it was decided the G30 motorway could be extended through the valley.

“It looks like somebody at the Junta deliberately made an administrative error which scuttled the BIC declaration leaving the valley vulnerable to construction.” 

The valley was only finally named a BIC site by the Junta in 2017 after a seven-year campaign, joining the Alhambra, Castillo de La Calahorra and the Gate of Elvira.

But a recommendation to delete the area from the BIC list came in July 2020 due to a ‘bureaucratic failure’ by the Andalucia government. 

“We thought that we had killed the motorway plan when the Junta finally agreed to declare the area as a BIC,” continued Brooke. 

“But two years ago we discovered the error and now the land is unprotected, the motorway on the PP’s manifesto, and the Junta actively looking to build the damn thing.” 

A group of 12 associations and collectives united under the Citizens’ Platform for the Integral Protection of the Darro River Valley will fight any such plans.

Meanwhile, Granada councillor Elisa Cabrera described the error by the Junta as like taking a ‘cold shower’. 

She told the Olive Press: “As long as the valley is not protected, we have the risk of these urban plans being carried out and approved.”

Her party, Podemos, has contacted the University of Granada, the Academy of Fine Arts and the Centre for Scientific Research to put pressure on the Junta to get the BIC status reinstated as soon as possible.

“This valley is part of the economic future of Granada, if we put more bricks in it we will only add more pollution and we will lose a landscape with important historical and cultural heritage” she added.

A full council session is to be held in Granada on November 26 and it is hoped the issue will be discussed.


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