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05/08/2009 - Town Hall scraps modifications to legalise homes and passes PGOU

The long-awaited Marbella PGOU (urban development plan) could finally come into force in October. The Town Hall approved the latest version of the plan on Wednesday without introducing the modifications (which would have meant the inclusion of all the illegal properties) that had been previously announced. This decision was made by the mayor, Ángeles Muñoz, after a meeting with Juan Espadas of the Junta de Andalucía last week. Espadas made it quite clear that the Junta would not accept the proposed modifications.
Muñoz announced on Monday that the local authority “had no choice but to put its idea of legalising all lived-in properties to one side” in order to avoid another deadlock situation with the Junta de Andalucía.
The vote in favour of the PGOU was supported by the leading opposition group, the PSOE, as well as the ruling Partido Popular. Only the Izquierda Unida councillor voted against.
Homes not included
The properties at the centre of the debate are around 500 homes that could not be legalised through the new PGOU’s compensation scheme, whereby developers have been ordered to donate alternative land for parks, schools, etc. in exchange for the legalisation of the properties that had already been built. Among the 500 are the apartments in the Banana Beach complex, properties in Río Real and La Víbora and several homes next to the Río Verde.
Now Muñoz says that the local authority will continue to work with the Andalusian Government to find a legal way of keeping the 500 homes on the plan, although once the PGOU has been finally approved the matter will be in the hands of the courts. “It will be the courts that have the final say over the future of these developments. They will have to decide whetherthe disadvantages of demolishing them outweigh the advantages or vice versa”, explained Muñoz on Monday.
Muñoz went on to say that the residents of these properties have the right to take legal action to defend their interests, pointing out that the houses were built and occupied on the basis of licences granted in their day by the Town Hall.
The mayor added that the residents of these properties have been religiously paying their taxes to the regional and local governments which gives both authorities a shared responsibility for their fate.
As well as Banana Beach, La Víbora and Río Real, the owners of certain properties in Jardines de la Costa in San Pedro are also affected. While these properties do appear as legal on the new PGOU, they have been designated on the plan as part of the compensation payable by the developer, who will have to buy the properties from their owners.
The Town Hall has also gone back on its plans to modify the PGOU with regard La Cañada area and the future fairground. The text approved on Wednesday maintains the plans to locate the new fairground to the north of la Cañada and reserve the east side for the extension of the commercial area.
Now that the new plan has been approved by the Town Hall it is up to the Junta de Andalucía to give it the final go ahead. It is expected that this could happen in October.