Back in November of last year, the regional government (the Junta de Andalucia) declared a moratorium on all new building projects within 500 metres of the coastline. This measure was applauded by organisations such as Greenpeace, concerned with over-development of the coast.

This moratorium forced Nerja council to put ambitious plans to develop El Playazo beach to the west of Nerja on hold. El Playazo is currently largely undeveloped, with just a dirt track and a few beach restaurants, plus one hotel at the end of the beach. The council want to increase the size of the beach, increasing its depth by 70 metres along most of its length of 1100 metres. This would create an extra 70,000 square metres of beach area.

In a tourism meeting held yesterday with opposition councilors and local businessmen the councillor for Tourism Bernardo Pozuelo has now said that the council is planning to discuss the situation with the Junta so that the moratorium “does not undermine the urban and tourist development in that area.”

According to Councillor Pozuelo expansion of Playazo is necessary to give Nerja the beaches that it needs to accommodate the growing number of tourists that come here and to ease overcrowding in the summer months. The council also want to develop the area between the beach and the main road – an area of one million square meters.

Separately the County Council in Malaga have announced that they are going to appeal the moratorium at the Constitutional Court in Madrid, as an “abuse of power” and an “attack on the autonomy of local government”. Coastal development has always been seen as a vital part of the economic development of this part of the country and there are fears that without it, the stalled Spanish economy will not recover.

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