Malaga residents fight to shrink sprawling restaurant terraces

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© Cristina Trif.
Outdoor dining in Malaga's historic centre

A MALAGA city council proposal to reduce the amount of street space occupied by restaurant terraces is being strongly opposed by the city’s caterers. 

Two hospitality associations Amares and Mahos are representing the interests of restaurateurs and bar owners at an open-meeting chaired by the Municipal Department of Public Roads on February 10, during which the proposal will be discussed. 

The new regulations aim to reduce the number of dining terraces in the historic centre and impose stringent controls over the amount of space they take up. At present, 40% of all 400 terraces authorised across the city are concentrated in the historic centre. 

Reports from January 2016 confirm that the proposed changes were sparked by residents who joined forces to complain in a letter to Malaga’s mayor, Francisco de la Torre. 

Disgruntled members of the Old Downtown Neighbourhood Association denounced the Popular Party-led government team for keeping “the best public space for catering…leaving aside the repopulation of an increasingly deserted and uninhabited” city centre.   

Opposing the revision to their current rights, some business owners in the area have complained of feeling “harassed”, with some businesses “in danger of disappearing”. 

Meanwhile, the councillor in charge of the business promotion unit within local government, Maria del Mar Martin Rojo, insists any amendment to the ordinance must be enforced city-wide, and those catering establishments with licenced outdoor terraces can expect ‘in situ’ inspections carried out with the help of 950 police officers.

The open debate was scheduled to begin at 7pm at Malaga’s Chamber of Commerce. 

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