A petition has been raised calling for urgent restoration work to be carried out on an important 18th century building in Vélez-Málaga. The former convent, known locally as Las Claras, is said to be at considerable risk after years of neglect.
The Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Gracia de Vélez-Málaga has a history dating back to 1555. It was substantially renewed in 1755 but was then left empty when the nuns of the order of Santa Clara moved to new premises in 2003. Although earmarked for renovation, it became a victim of the financial crisis of that time and was finally taken into public ownership in 2014.
It was eventually acquired by the Unicaja Bank as a result of the foreclosure of its previous owners and last year the Town Hall authorised the bank to undertake a €560,000 project to restore the building.
Now, a call has been made for action to be taken by Town Council and the Junta de Andalucía, both of which are responsible for protecting the building which is listed as a BIC (an asset of cultural importance). Claims are being made that Unicaja, as the current owner, has not met its obligation to maintain and repair it.
The campaign has been launched by a group “in defence of Las Claras” and their petition on change.org for pressure to be put on the bank, launched in late November, has already attracted almost 500 signatures. They say that damage at roof level has affected interior wooden trusses putting the structure in danger while fissures in some of the walls are causing deterioration which can be seen from the road outside.
To sign the petition, search for “Las Claras Vélez-Málaga” at change.org.