The biggest land dispute on the Costa del Sol rumbles on. The regional ministry for Local Administration has ratified a previous ruling which means that Benalmádena is due back some 74,000 square metres in the El Higuerón area which were incorporated into the Fuengirola PGOU town plan in 2006.
Regional vice-president Juan Marín this week signed off on the order which rules that the original boundaries outlined in 1874 were to be respected, rejecting all objections put forward by Fuengirola town hall.
Fuengirola council points out that Benalmádena hasn't looked after the area in dispute (sanitation, waste collection etc) for decades and that the Junta hasn't taken into account the reality of the current situation.
That said, this is as far as the administrative procedure can now go, but Fuengirola council has already announced that it is considering the possibility of filing an appeal with the High Court of Andalucía (TSJA).
The outcome of this conflict could have huge financial implications. As it stands Benalmádena will be getting back an area with urban development possibilities in an area that barely has any land for new developments. This would bring in substantial revenue from building permits and the IBI municipal tax.
The problem started when Benalmádena's PGOU from the early 1980s mistakenly missed off the land in El Higuerón. Fuengirola than added the forgotten land to its own plan in 2006.
Benalmádena mayor Víctor Navas (PSOE), however, says he would like to reach out to his counterpart, Ana Mula (PP), to "open a line of dialogue" so that the transfer of the land can be carried out "without incident", since there are residents and businesses in the area "for whom we don't want to cause uncertainty".