Residents of coastal Almeria may have to prepare themselves for another lengthy legal battle as planning permission is sought for a new hotel on one of the province’s most picturesque beaches.
The proposed project would see a new four star hotel with 33 rooms straddling thousands of square metres facing the bay of Playa de los Genoveses, one of the Gabo de Gata-Nijar natural park’s more stunning settings.
It looks to be a done deal. A precise budget of just over €2 million has been set and the only real hurdle is the council confirming that construction plans are compatible with the local geology.
But, as any long-term Almeria resident will tell you, hotels and beaches have a fairly chequered history in the province, especially when protected natural parks like the Gabo de Gata are involved.
It took more than a decade of legal wrangling, terrible press and eco-warrior protests for the Supreme Court to finally order the demolition of the abominable El Algarrobico hotel in Carboneras.
Dubbed one of the world’s ugliest eyesores by The Telegraph and targeted by a ferocious Greenpeace campaign, the affair dragged on far longer than needed and brought nothing but negative coverage to the region.
It would be quite something if Torres and Gonzalez-Diaz SL, who are behind the new project, managed to repeat the El Algarrobico disaster but local activist groups are concerned that they may nevertheless set a disturbing precedent.
Friends of the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata worry that by allowing a major hotel to be built within the pristine territory the council will be opening up the floodgates for more building, more tourism, more hotels and the park’s inevitable degeneration into just another Spanish coastal resort.