The long stalled plan to construct a golf course in Nerja has taken a small step forward after a representative from the regional government of Andalucia promised to re-open the issue with the Environment Department in Seville. José Luis Ruiz Espejo has also promised to sit down with Nerja’s mayor José Armijo to discuss the project.
The golf course was planned to be built in an area close to the Nerja Caves, called el Barranco de la Coladilla which borders the Sierras Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Parks. The land was designated for development by the town council in the local area plan (the PGOU) back in 2000. However the Andalucian government had different ideas and gave the area a protected designation in their regional plan (POTAX) in 2006. This caused the plan to stall and left the developer Medgroup, who had paid €11 million for the rights in 2004, with nowhere to go except the courts to ask for the return of their money, plus interest. In 2011 a court in Malaga rejected Medgroup’s claim against Nerja council for €15 million.
The original plan envisaged an 18 hole golf course, luxury hotel and 1,000 homes to be built in an area which is currently a wilderness – at the height of the property boom the development would have been worth hundreds of millions of euros. At the time Medgroup was majority owned by billionaire financier George Soros, best known for making $1bn out of the collapse of the pound in 1992, following Britain’s ill-fated entry to the European exchange rate mechanism. In 2010 Soros sold his stake in Medgroup for a nominal amount, stating that he was “tired of the Spanish real estate sector”.
In the meantime golf enthusiasts can play at Baviera Golf, (pictured above) a short distance down the motorway from Nerja.