Tuesday, 3 October 2023
La Raqueta tennis and padel club in Nerja is to close this month and La Raqueta bar, which is located on the premises closed yesterday, Monday 2 October.
The land is owned by Lual, an estate agent and property development company based in Nerja, which according to sources has been granted permission from the Junta de Andalucía to change the land use from 'sports facility' to 'commercial' in order to sell it.
Staff at the tennis club told SUR in English that the club is expected to close on or around 14 October, but that "it could be a few days before or after. We are not sure exactly but our bosses have told us to look for other work and if we find something before our contracts end there won't be a problem." The staff member added that as far as they were aware there were "no plans at the moment" to relocate the tennis club.
Sources at La Raqueta bar, which has been running for six years and also runs the La Raqueta market, posted an announcement on the Facebook page last week explaining that the closure is “due to the fact that the property owner Lual has succeeded in changing the permissions of the property from sports facility to commercial.” This newspaper has tried to contact Lual but the company has not replied to request for information.
According to the statement issued by La Raqueta bar, Lual has been “actively trying to redevelop the site” for a number of years but previous applications to the Andalusian regional government to change the use of the land to residential have been turned down.
Robert Southgate has been playing tennis regularly at La Raqueta, which was previously Tenis Club Andaluz before the name change around 10 years ago, since 1984. He told SUR in English that the closure is “a great shock and disappointment for me and everyone”.
Robert went on to say, “When I first heard of the possibility, I said it was ridiculous. It is evident in terms of planning nothing is fixed and with enough money and political clout you can achieve anything. The ayuntamiento have totally ignored the fact the La Raqueta is used by used by Spanish, European and worldwide people. [It is] used not just for tennis and padel but as a meeting place for recreation.”
For Robert, “the minimum the ayuntamiento and the developers Lual should do is to jointly provide similar facilities in or close to Nerja” and he called on those affected “protest to the ayuntamiento and Junta de Andalucía and just hope it is not too late.”
A source at the bar told SUR in English that Lual had offered both them and the tennis club a “30-day rolling contract” until December, but the bar declined as “this is no viable way to run a business”.
However, David Trippas the president of Almijara Bowls Club, which also uses the premises, told SUR in English that they would be staying until December and that they had had a “very helpful meeting” with urban planning councillor Alberto Tomé who has offered the club “three or four possible alternative sites”. Almijara Bowls Club has been based at the tennis club since October 2014 and played its first game there in January 2015.
The family that ran La Raqueta has taken over the Smugglers Inn bar on Castilla Pérez in Nerja and will be opening on Wednesday 4 October. They told SUR in English: “It has always been known that Lual as trying to change the permission, so it is what it is. It is time for a change for us”.
Nerja town hall has not responded to this newspaper’s requests for comment.
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