The councillor for Culture in Marbella, Gema Midón, has admitted that it was "unwise and an error" to have let a heavy digger on to land immediately adjacent to the ruins of the Vega del Mar Basilica in San Pedro, which dates back to the second century AD.
The council plans to create a picnic site on the land. The ruined church is listed as of special cultural interest (Bien de Interés Cultural), and the land around it, which is unlisted, is believed to also have special archaeological importance and is normally fenced off.
Recently a complaint reached environmental protection police that the council had allegedly exceeded the permission it had been given by the Junta de Andalucía to clean the ground and was going too far in damaging it, especially when the digger became stuck in mud and churned up possible archaeological remains. All sides are now urgently asking the Junta to clarify where the legal boundary of the site lies.
Marbella council has said it has been transparent throughout the process and will now continue any work on the picnic site manually.