Next Tuesday's inauguration of the luxury McArthurGlen Designer Outlet centre beside the Plaza Mayor shopping centre is looking less likely. Earlier this week the Andalusian High Court (TSJA) provisionally suspended the opening of the access road from the motorway at Guadalmar after a landowner complained that some of his land had been used for the widening of the road without permission.
Now the opening, planned for Tuesday 22 October, has been complicated further. It is possible that the Ministry of Public Works will not authorise this new centre to open with only one access road and will insist that the works to widen the north side of the MA-20 in the Cadiz direction are completed first. This is very important, because Malaga's town planning department cannot give the go-ahead for the opening without the ministry's approval.
When asked by SUR what the government is insisting on before the commercial centre can be inaugurated, officials at the ministry explained that "all the actions that were stipulated in the [provisional] authorisation have to be carried out, because it is the combination of those that minimises the effect on the State road network".
Asked whether the widening of the M-20 was one of those actions, we were told, "We are studying all the possibilities suggested to us but the general policy is not to give authorisation for a partial opening because then there is no guarantee that everything that needs to be done to comply with the Law of Roads will be carried out.
"We cannot allow a private project to affect road safety. We have to look after the general interest, not the particular interest of a commercial centre," they said.
If they stick to that policy, it is unlikely that the outlet will be able to open on Tuesday unless by then the highway at Guadalmar has an additional two lanes in the Cadiz direction.
The directors of Plaza Mayor wanted to open the centre with just the access road open so vehicles do not have to go to the Parador del Golf roundabout. They argue that there is an inner road, about 1,400 metres long, which could hold part of the queue of vehicles which are expected to drive to the new luxury brand outlet. The motorway works were expected to be completed around the end of this year, but may be delayed because of last week's court decision.
Sources at the Ministry also referred to the way the road-widening roads are already affecting traffic flow. "You can see what is happening in that area, and it would be unsustainable to support this situation for very long," they said.