A LONG dispute over reopening a small stretch of an Orihuela Costa footpath has seen Orihuela council vote to expropriate land despite opposition from the Bellavista de Cabo Roig residents association.

The 60-metre route linking the Aquamarina path with La Caleta was shut in December 2021 by the council- acting on a court order that gave the right to Bellavista residents to close it

It meant that walkers had to make a two kilometre detour to get to the beach after six years of access.

Orihuela council will now have to reach an expropriation deal with the Bellavista owners amidst reports earlier this year that the authority have offered them up to €70,000.

It has been suggested that the owners want €2 million plus another €1 million for the developer of a plot on the other side of the promenade towards La Caleta.

Orihuela Urban Planning councillor, Matias Ruiz, said he was confident of reaching a deal without having to resort to the Court of Arbitration, which could create a lengthy delay in seeing the path reopened.

“We opted for mutual agreement, which is the fastest way to move forward, and we believe that we can reach an understanding,” said Ruiz.

“The City Council has made a fair offer for the land which they can accept or not. If they do not accept it, it will be the Court that will finally set the fair price, but we find this option to be the best and most reasonable way to move ahead,” he added.

The Bellavista development was approved in 1990 but Orihuela council at the time did not expropriate the full length of the path, leaving the 60 metre gap.

Residents built a barrier in 2013 to shut off access, but it was taken down two years later by the council.

That in turn led to a legal challenge with the council eventually forced to reinstall the barrier in December 2021

As previously reported by the Olive Press, the Provincial Coastal Authority(Costas), gave Orihuela council permission in March to retake control of the ‘blocked’ path.

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