Estepona, an island amid a sea of broken promises

Work will start in Torremolinos town centre in January. :: Sur
Work will start in Torremolinos town centre in January. :: Sur
  • A lack of resources, coalition councils and delays in approving annual budgets have reduced new projects to a minimum in many towns in the province

A lack of resources and coalition councils have become a lethal combination for investment projects in many towns in the province, where the budgets for 2017 were approved so late that there was barely time to start building anything. Marbella, Torremolinos, Rincón de la Victoria, Vélez and Nerja are examples. Estepona, on the contrary, is like an island amid a sea of unfulfilled promises. The council has now started work on the local hospital, which the Junta de Andalucía announced years ago but which the local authority finally decided to finance itself, at a cost of six million euros. The project should be completed by the end of 2018. Estepona council has also just started building an athletics stadium (3,000,000 euros) and recently finished, albeit a year late, the improvements to the Plaza Antonia Guerrero.

The situation in neighbouring Marbella is very different. The municipal budget couldn't be put into effect until May so, as in 2016, this year will end with very few projects having been completed. Most of them were funded by money reserved for financially sustainable investments, leftover from 2016, which had to be spent before 31 December. These included improvements to the Divina Pastora district and the Plaza de Paco Cantos.

A few weeks ago work also began on the leisure port, to integrate it more in the town. There has been such a lack of activity that the town hall has lost a 1.3 million euro grant which the provincial government allocated in 2015 for the first phase of the boulevard and park at Arroyo Primero.

Too little time

The situation is similar in Torremolinos, where investment projects were also held up because the budget was not approved until July. The positive side is that at least there has been time to contract the works on its star project, the pedestrianisation of the town centre. These will begin in January, two months later than expected. There has not been enough time to launch the employment plans which had been announced, or start the remodelling of the Casa de María Barrabino.

In Benalmádena, where investment has been limited because of the need to comply with a financial adjustment plan to reduce the debt, work did begin last month on improvements to the Paseo de Generalife, in Arroyo de la Miel.

There have been few completed projects on the eastern Costa del Sol, either. In Vélez-Malaga several streets have been improved, but the project to pedestrianise the historic town centre and the conversion of the MercoVélez building for administrative use are still waiting to be put to tender. In terms of culture, the theatre in Torre del Mar, which was announced a year ago, will still have to wait. In Rincón de la Victoria the situation is different, because the budget was not approved until August and barely one million euros were allocated for investment. Half of those funds will be used to finish the indoor swimming pool.

The case of Nerja is similar: the budget wasn't approved until July and hardly any of the 5.2 million euros allocated for works have been used. The most important project has just been put to tender: the demolition of the Giner de los Ríos centre, which will be replaced with a new multi-use building.