Groups representing businesses and traders in Vélez-Málaga and Torre del Mar say they are against plans to expand the El Ingenio shopping centre. The owners, Sociedad Azucarera Larios S. A. (SALSA), have put forward proposals to increase the retail are by 5,000 square metres.

The centre, which opened in November 2000, presently covers 42,200 square metres and includes 120 shops, the Eroski hypermarket, 12 cinema screens, 2,600 parking places, a gymnasium and a petrol station.  SALSA have submitted plans to Vélez-Málaga Town Hall to expand near the service station where Aurgi has a mechanical workshop, and at the other end of the complex where a nightclub once operated.

“need to develop their urban centres with more trade and life in our streets,”

When it was first discussed by Vélez Town Council last month, representatives of the Partido Popular and Izquierda Unida argued that any expansion would damage small businesses in the municipality.  The PP noted that the plan states it would be expected to increase business by 9.9 per cent, which is below the level at which SALSA would have to compensate the municipality.  The proposal was due for further discussion at a meeting scheduled for July 30.

The Association of Traders in Torre del Mar (ACET) commented that Vélez and Torre, “need to develop their urban centres with more trade and life in our streets,” with more pedestrian areas, more parking and “above all” more public transport.

Their opposite number in Vélez-Málaga (ACEV) said it was “not time” for an extension of El Ingenio which, “we opposed at the time of its construction.”  The group also noted that work was just starting on the pedestrianisation of the centre of Vélez.