A dozen beach bars, or chiringuitos, on the edge of the sand in Marbella are facing an uncertain future after a central government order that their licences cannot be renewed.
The chiringuitos affected are all along the beaches in the eastern part of the municipality, including Alicate, Costabella, Real de Zaragoza, el C, La Víbora, El Realejo and Río Verde.
The government says that the beach bars and restaurants are on public coastal land and so cannot stay there long-term, and blames Marbella town hall for the problem.
Now Marbella council has said it will launch an official complaint to Madrid and try and get the resolution overturned, while the opposition has complained that the ruling PP party on the council has been slow to react, since it found out about the order in August.
Marbella town hall blamed
Two months ago, it was announced that the twelve chiringuitos were now on public land according to protection rules within the 1998 coastal law (Ley de Costas) that the government has been gradually enforcing since 2002. The resolution says that, as Marbella town hall had not registered or claimed ownership of the land the bars are on prior to the law being implemented, then it has no rights to renew the operating licences for the bar.
At a meeting of the full council last week, the councillor for Beaches, Manuel Cardeña, promised to make an official appeal.
The opposition PSOE party criticised the councillor for taking two months to do anything knowing that the popular beach landmarks were now officially under threat.
In reply Cardeña said,"We are in this situation as you [PSOE] did nothing, referring to when the PSOE was in power in Marbella up to 14 months ago."
Spokesperson for Izquierda Unida, Manuel Díaz, complained that these are "established" businesses adding that "this subject is being dealt with in the council meeting now when it was urgent in August".