The proposal to build on one of the last undeveloped stretches of Málaga’s coastline continued to be debated during July. In March, plans were published in the Official Provincial Gazette of the province of Málaga for a €300 million golf course, hotel and housing development to be built between Nerja and Maro.
Quickly, over 1,000 signatures were gathered on a petition opposing the project as part of a campaign organised by a pressure group formed in 2017, Plataforma Otra Nerja y Maro es Posible (Another Way for Nerja and Maro is Possible). They claim the development will destroy, “one of the things that Nerja has as a tourist asset: its landscape.”
Last month, the general secretary of the socialist PSOE in the province, José Luis Ruiz Espejo, announced that 50 socialist senators, 26 of whom are from Andalucía, have submitted an appeal to the Constitutional Court to paralyse the project. He told a press conference that the regional government is ignoring its own commitment to green tourism by backing the planned development, and called on the Junta de Andalucía to block such projects on “virgin and environmentally protected stretches of the coast.”
According to the developers, Sociedad Azucarera Larios S. A. (Salsa), the new project will cover about 200 hectares of land north and south of the N-340 road, from a point east of Burriana beach almost as far as the municipality’s border with Granada. In the south it would border the area of the Maro – Cerro Gordo Natural Park.
Salsa says 90 per cent of this area, which will surround the village of Maro on three sides, is presently undeveloped. However, the proposals would require amendments to Nerja’s town planning legislation, (PGOU) and to the Axarquia Territorial Planning Plan (POTAX).
Between the N-340 and the A-7 autovía, the project seeks to redevelop the derelict 19th century San Joaquín sugar factory as an hotel, surround by 680 luxury homes, while to the south, an 18-hole golf course with stunning views across the Mediterranean is planned. The whole development would be irrigated with recycled water from Nerja’s waste water treatment plant which is presently under construction nearby.
Salsa says it will invest €311 million over ten years creating 520 jobs during construction, plus 600 direct and other indirect positions when complete. “The objective,” says the developer, “is to make Nerja an attractive destination for high-spending tourists which is not sensitive to seasonality.”
However, the socialists claim that the Junta de Andalucía has, “taken advantage of the state of alarm and paralysis due to the Covid-19 pandemic to approve this measure, trivialising the Andalucían parliament and stealing the people’s participation in the parliamentary debate.”