Cádiz first to ‘benefit’ from construction crackdown

The Spanish government has announced ambitious plans to return the coast of Cádiz to its natural state.

The scheme will see 187 kilometres of Atlantic coastline freed from homes and hotels built within the past 20 years and replaced with a network of footpaths and promenades.

An agreement to demolish 52 homes in Rota and Vejer has already been reached with discussions ongoing with town halls in Chipiona, Chiclana, Sanlúcar and Barbate.

'This represents a radical change in coastal management policy, never before witnessed in Spain, spokesman for the government, Federico Fernández said.

Spain introduced tough measures to clean up its coastline in October last year. Reinforcing the Coast Law of 1988, which declares any new construction within 100 metres of the shore since that date illegal, the Strategy for Coastal Sustainability intends to double this demarcation zone.

At an estimated cost of €5 billion, not only does the government want to demolish illegal buildings, it also wants to protect the coast from global warming. Some experts predict Spain will lose 20 metres of its coastline by 2050 as sea levels rise.

Meanwhile, the developers of a controversial hotel built on protected land in the Cabo de Gata nature reserve have lost their most recent battle to save the tourist complex. This comes after the Supreme Court of Andalucía ratified the 2006 decision to suspend work on the 411-bed Algarrobico hotel. The ruling came after an appeal by development company, Azata, and the PSOE town hall of Carboneras, which both claim the complex is legal.

Meanwhile a court in Cádiz has refused planning permission for an extension to a local golf course in move that signifies a growing mood that the crackdown will continue. The Partido Popular council of El Puerto had originally given its go ahead for the extension to the Vistahermosa course. Plans had also been agreed for 325 luxury homes. However, judges have withdrawn the licence after a water authority report stated there would be no guaranteed water supply to the homes.