Meetings have been taking place in the last week between Nerja town hall and landowners, La Sociedad Azucarera Larios SA (Salsa), to try to reach an agreement over the controversial Maro golf course development. Councillors met with representatives from Salsa, the company which owns the land situated near the Nerja caves, in an area known as el Barranco de La Coladilla.
Nerja’s urban development councillor, Anabel Iranzo, told SUR after the meeting, “We are negotiating with them, we have asked for changes in the agreement which will benefit the town. Larios wants to cooperate with the town hall.”
The current tripartite administration rules out reactivating the project, which was proposed, but never signed off, by their predecessors, under former mayor, José Alberto Armijo.
In a separate meeting, last Friday residents’ group ‘Another Nerja and Maro is possible’ (otro Nerja y Maro es posible), which opposes the golf course plans, met with members of the Izquierda Unida political party, which makes up part of the coalition administration, to reiterate their concerns about the project. Earlier in May the group put up a banner in the Barranco area as a protest, but say it was, “quickly pulled down by Larios staff.”
The group put forward alternative plans for the land, which, according to Nerja’s town plan, is designated for agricultural use and not currently earmarked for development. The suggestions include sustainable tourism projects and the continued use of the land for agricultural purposes.
There is support for the project, which if it went ahead, would include an 18-hole golf course, 680 homes and a number of luxury hotels, from ‘Maro Golf, Proyecto Turístico de Gran Caldo para Nuestro Municipio,’ (Maro Golf, major tourist project for our town), a group which is gathering momentum via social networks.
Since 2002, Nerja town hall has been in negotiations with different companies to develop the land near the caves, when Armijo’s administration sold a large part of it for 15 million euros to the multinational real estate group, Medgroup.
However, an agreement has never been reached, largely due to the status of the land as agricultural and therefore not earmarked for development under Andalucia’s POTAX and PGOU development plans, as well as the agreements which the former mayor never signed. Despite apparent town hall and resident opposition, there is still no confirmation as to whether the plan will go ahead or not.