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Marbella to set up inspection force to ensure local businesses comply with regulations

Tables and chairs in the Plaza de los Naranjos.
Tables and chairs in the Plaza de los Naranjos. / Josele-Lanza
  • Town hall inspectors and Local Police officers will check noise levels, hygiene and security certificates and that terraces have the necessary permissions

The council is aware that the balance between the right of company owners to run their businesses and the right of local residents to get enough rest can sometimes be complicated, and it is now planning to send inspectors to ensure that establishments which put on shows, play music or have tables and chairs outside in the street comply with the regulations.

This new Inspection Plan will be in force for two years (2019-2020) and has been drawn up with assistance from the Industry and Public Streets departments of the town hall and the Local Police force.

“When we approved the regulations regarding coexistence last year, we included the creation of a team of inspectors, including officers from the Local Police, and they will now be checking that businesses are complying with the rules about noise and occupancy of public streets,” says the councillor for Industry, José Eduardo Díaz.

The list of businesses which are to be subjected to these checks is very long and includes venues which play music, bars and restaurants with outside tables and chairs, shops with external display cases, cinemas, cultural and gaming establishments, places where celebrations can take place, etc.

The checks, says Díaz, will be carried out everywhere in the municipality of Marbella, “because we want to bring order to a sector which was ignored by the previous council, who carried out no controls or inspections whatsoever”.

The plan is based on a law dating back to 1999 which regulates businesses in Andalucía, as well as different environmental regulations and municipal bylaws. Businesses will be treated equally and the penalties for those which are failing to comply with the rules will be proportionate.

“This is a way of using laws which exist in Andalucía and local regulations which are the responsibility of Marbella town hall, explains José Eduardo Díaz.

The municipality will be divided into areas or sectors for the inspections, and priority will be given to those which have the largest number of businesses whose activities, whether inside or out, could cause disturbance to local residents or passers-by.

The checks will preferably be carried out at the times when those activities could generate a high level of noise or risk, which have been identified during previous inspections or because complaints about them have been received.

During the inspections, various items of documentation will be checked, such as the general paperwork for the establishment (such as authorisation from the town hall, ownership, obligatory insurance, complaints forms and permits to use an area of the street outside), technical documents for the installations, verification that equipment such as low-tension electricial devices comply with the regulations, and that the business meets the fire prevention, evacuation, accesibility and hygiene standards.

In addition, the Local Police and inspectors will organise periodic checks during opening hours, whether by day or at night, to ensure that the businesses are complying with regulations concerning opening hours, maximum numbers of people permitted, the number of security staff, emergency exits, hygiene conditions and terms of admission. They will also check that the outside terraces close at the time they are supposed to and do not take up unauthorised space.

“Example of coexistence”

“Marbella, although it is a tourist resort and its population increases considerably at certain times of the year, is an example of coexistence, and we do not expect serious problems in terms of complying with these regulations,” says José Eduardo Díaz. “However, we need to maintain that coexistence and we are calling on bar and restaurant owners not to damage it.”

He says that as well as carrying out the aforementioned checks, the inspectors will also ensure that private vehicles do not block designated commercial loading and unloading bays.

In recent months the council’s Industry department has been carrying out some inspections and now, thanks to this plan, there will be plenty more.

To ensure that people do comply with the regulations and to achieve its objective, the council is in the process of contracting another member of staff for the Industry department. “We have two inspectors at the moment so this will be the third. We could do with more staff, but with this number we will be able to deal with the problems that we discovered in this respect when we returned to government a year and a half ago,” says the councillor.

The final touches are being put to the inspection plan, and it will be fully prepared and ready to be put into effect before the summer.