Expats living in Malaga say the city centre is becoming a ‘mini las vegas’ as complaints about noise level and disorderly behavior surge.
It’s been the topic of heated debate among city officials since tourism returned to the Andalusian port hub after the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the latest city council plenary session this month councilor for commerce and management of public roads Elisa Perez de Siles justified the issue as Malaga being ‘a fun and happy city’.
But hundreds of neighbours think the opposite, with a resident group called ‘Huelin Stop’ attracting more than 200 signatures and calling on the council to urgently step in.
The group has also shared videos of the antics online to demonstrate the situation neighbours were forced to deal with.
Hamilton Beau Bone from Atlanta has been living in Malaga for seven years and said he had never seen the historical centre in its current state before.
Just on Sunday, he spotted human feaces beside a crinkled button-up shirt in the foyer of his apartment building in Calle Granada, right in the heart of the city.
“Malaga right now is like a drunk tourist town, it’s becoming a mini Las Vegas,” he told the Olive Press.
The 35-year-old said the chaos became noticeable during the summer of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It got quiet again obviously during the pandemic but since then it’s just gone off its rocks here,” Bone said.
“Most noise comes from people passing through the night, not just foreigners, it’s everyone.
“In the main arteries of the city groups of people will just camp out on doorsteps and the noise shoots through the night.
“These people have no consciousness that there are people living here.”
Police in Malaga responded to 132 complaints about noise and drunken antics between October 3-10 across the historical centre and in the districts of Teatinos and Huelin.
English expatriate Alison Hall from Stoke-on-Trent told the Olive Press there needed to be more police patrols.
“I realise I live in the city so I should expect noise but it’s the shouting and screaming at 3am, 4,5,6 and even 7, and people hanging around in drunk crowds that I struggle with,” she said.
“I don’t understand why there’s no police at that time to encourage people to go home quietly, there’s plenty of police during the daytime.”
Vanessa Trost said she would frequently be disturbed by venues blasting bass late at night and restaurants serving dinner in the terraces until 11pm in the central Plaza de la Merced.
“Many live where they lived since before it became a party plaza,” she said.
“I am in a privileged position to just move away…expats just pack up and leave but the legacy residents are trapped in an unhealthy, unbearable situation.”
Under current regulations, restaurant terraces must close at 12.30am on weekends.
During the plenary debate this month Perez de Siles said neighbourhood complaints about noise attributed to the hospitality sector were only at 11 per cent.
But Association of Residents of the Old Centre of Malaga Alejandro Villen said it was not a reason to ignore neighbours’ pleas for help.
“If the message is to behave, do not make noise in the street and comply with laws, but the opposite is done, then it cannot be justified by saying Malaga is a fun city,” he said.
Malaga Council said it had carried out various works in the past identifying the loudest parts of the city and requiring businesses to abide by strict regulations such as noise control from 11pm onwards, surveillance and inspections of the zones and setting up a noise management body.
“This council has some national recogntiion on this matter and we have been working for years on issues that other councils are only now just beginning to consider, especially in relation to leisure noise,” a spokesperson said.
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