Image of one of the ancient olive trees located on the Poey estate in Vélez-Málaga. SUR
Neighbourhood groups call for the protection of a centuries-old olive grove in Vélez-Málaga

Neighbourhood groups call for the protection of a centuries-old olive grove in Vélez-Málaga

Five lobby groups have organised a day of protest for this Saturday on the Poey estate where the olive grove stands to publicise their proposals for the creation of an agro-urban park on this site for Vélez-Málaga

Eugenio Cabezas

Friday, 17 May 2024, 21:17

Opciones para compartir

Five different associations and protest groups have united to present documentation to Vélez-Málaga town hall for a project to protect the centuries-old olive grove of Poey and to set up in the future a type of agro-urban park in the eastern part of the town centre. The associations involved are Gabinete de Estudios de la Naturaleza (GENA-Ecologistas en Acción, activists for nature), SAC (Sociedad de Amigos de la Cultura - activists for retaining rural traditions), and the Asociación para la Defensa de las Chimeneas y el Patrimonio Industrial (supporters of the wood trade). The other two interested parties are Olearum (olive oil producers) and the local neighbourhood protest group against the impact of climate change, Emergencia Climática Axarquía.

A joint statement from the five groups highlighted that this project had already been presented in 2018 to the town hall's planning department, at which time they had insisted that, as the Poey olive grove was classed as urbanizable land not yet divided up for development, according to the then current General Urban Development Plan (PGOU), "this land could be acquired by the town council as greenbelt in future urban development agreements with the landowners."

However, according to the groups, "given that there has not yet been any urban development initiative in this place, the new PGOU of 2019, currently in the final phase of completion, does not yet include this possible area to be protected." "The political change in the current legislature obliges these associations to resubmit the aforementioned agro-urban park project to the new council rulers with the aim of it being considered as a potential green area in a space that is currently starting to be urbanised, The construction of a dual carriageway link road with La Caleta (Torrox road) and the project to build a private hospital in this area , both will surely encourage investors to get busy developing this land further", they stated.

According to the groups, the request for an agro-urban park includes not only a centuries-old olive grove, "but also other nearby features of great importance". The Poey olive grove has among its many olive trees at least 29 specimens that have already been inventorised, measured and even geolocated for the project. The reasons for their selection on the list vary, but it is mostly not for their age, rather their place as important monuments to nature, mostly for their extravagant shapes.

The associations have therefore given them names alluding to their shape, such as 'bipartido' (Split), 'retorcido' (Twisted), 'tumbado' (Fallen), 'espiral' (Spiral), 'cavernoso' (Cave), etc., and "we are very aware that they have been the subject of many photographs", they added.

Drover's road

But next to this olive grove there is also an old cattle drover's road called Camino de Algarrobo, classified as a Puerta Verde (Green Gateway) by the regional Junta, providing a green link between rural and urban areas. Next to this are the ruins of the so-called Molino de Los Pérez, an 18th century olive oil mill, protected in the Inventory of Architectural Assets in Vélez-Málaga's urban plan, "for which we urge its rapid restoration, before it is totally lost due to its ruinous state."

According to the Vélez groups, "annexed to this mill is the Alberca de Los Pérez, a large pool next to a spring that feeds the Negro stream, a tributary of the river Vélez, where up to six different species of amphibians have been found to exist. That is the maximum biodiversity to be found in a single habitat in the whole of the Axarquía, which the PGOU recognises as a 'habitat of community interest', and for which, logically, maximum protection is requested." In the opinion of these interest groups, "all these elements, the olive grove, the olive oil mill and the wetland fit the bill for what qualifies as an agro-urban park, as its vocation is to become a place of recreation with the olive grove setting the scene for a traditional rural setting to represent the area."

In order to promote this project, the associations have called a protest rally at the aforementioned site on Saturday 18 May, starting at 10.30am at the roundabout by the Fernando Ruiz Hierro sports stadium. "From where the aforementioned estate will be accessed and visitors will be shown the features worthy of protection, including a tour of the ancient olive trees of Poey and a demonstration to explain to attendees how to distinguish the different varieties of olive trees in the area, all scheduled to end at approximately 1.30pm", as detailed in their joint statement.

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