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Protesters in Torrox. E. Cabezas
'Glimmer of hope' for residents opposed to Axarquía electricity substation
Planning

'Glimmer of hope' for residents opposed to Axarquía electricity substation

Around 300 people took to the streets to protest against Torrox town hall’s decision to authorise Endesa to build the facility next to three schools and a residential area

Eugenio Cabezas

Torrox

Wednesday, 6 December 2023, 18:05

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The president of a residents’ group which opposes the building of a new electricity substation in the Torrox Park area of the Axarquía town, on the eastern stretch of the Costa del Sol, Antonio Ruiz, has that "they have a glimmer of hope" after learning a few days ago that the environmental public prosecutor in Malaga has been ordered to open proceedings for alleged planning and environmental irregularities in the case to grant permission for the substation.

Ruiz was speaking after around 300 residents took to the streets on Saturday 2 December in the third large demonstration against the location of the new electricity substation in the town.

The current site for the new facility is next to two primary schools, a secondary school and thousands of homes in the Torrox Park area. After the protests of August and September, a residents’ group was formed due to fears over possible health risks that could be caused by the substation.

Peaceful protest

"We are not opposed to the construction of a substation, we are opposed to it being built in this location, we are asking for an alternative to be found, because it does not meet the safety, urban or environmental conditions", said Ruiz, at the end of the peaceful protest, which started at the Convento de Las Nieves and ended on Plaza de la Constitución, where Torrox town hall is located. Ruiz went on to say that "the mayor still does not want to listen to us, he delegates it to his councillors".

Endesa's project, which involves a private investment of at least six million euros, has a completion period of less than a year and is just 20 per cent complete. "We maintain a constant protest, with people gathering every day around the construction site. It is a flood zone, 50 metres from houses and 165 metres from El Faro school, where my two daughters go," Ruiz said. He added that the group is to stage protests every week, "until they listen to us and agree to stop this barbarity".

"The mayor has lied to us from the beginning, just before the elections he told us that the works were not going to start and that he was still working to find another location, but the works started just two days after the elections, when he regained his absolute majority," said Ruiz. The protest was attended by councillors from the left-wing opposition PSOE and IU political parties. The far-right Vox party is also opposed to the location chosen by the town hall.

Alternatives

At a town hall meeting in October councillors voted "to look for alternatives" to the location of the electricity substation. However, the work continues. They unanimously agreed to "create a working group and alluded to "a legal report that warns of prevarication if the licence granted to Endesa is annulled".

Councillors once again voted in favour of the proposal to seek new alternatives to the location for the substation, "because we are with the residents and we do not want that location either, but all this is the result of a series of steps that have been taken over the years, since the town hall made this commitment by signing the agreement in 2005 and in 2008 the licence was granted and the procedures for the development of the action project began", said the municipal spokesman for the PP, José Manuel Fernández.

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