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Rubbish left by the BQ Andalucía hotel after last August's Elrow festival SUR
Torre del Mar residents: 'We don't want another summer of noise and filth'

Torre del Mar residents: 'We don't want another summer of noise and filth'

Owners of flats in the SUPT-11 and SUPT-12 area to the west of the town are demanding that the town hall move the Weekend Beach festival, fair and other large-scale events to another location

Eugenio Cabezas

Torre del Mar

Tuesday, 2 May 2023, 16:28

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Weekend Beach festival, Torre del Mar fair, Elrow... for the residents of the area to the west of Torre del Mar, known as SUPT-11 and SUPT-12 summer 2022 was a never-ending ordeal of noisy, dirty large-scale events on their doorstep after two years of peace and quiet during the Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021.

The approximately 3,000 residents living in the area have written an official complaint to Vélez-Málaga town hall about the noise, dirt and inconvenience of having up to 150,000 visitors descend on the normally quiet neighbourhood throughout July and August.

After organising a protest in September 2022, they have hired a law firm and have filed an administrative complaint against the Vélez-Málaga town hall as a first step to continue with criminal and civil actions if their request to find an alternative location for the summer macro events in the town is not met. "We don't want another summer of noise and dirt", summarises one of the residents, who prefers to remain anonymous.

A breach of peace

In the complaint, which SUR has had access to, the residents maintain that: "the noise is unbearable, to which must be added the noise caused by shouting, chanting, music coming from car speakers and the sheer number of people who gather outside the venue itself, drinking, singing, shouting, talking, etc."

The residents have also complained the fact that these large-scale musical events and the summer fair "are a breach of peace in a residential area, with the public carrying out their physiological needs on the public highway, the accumulation of rubbish, and even intrusions into private spaces".

The residents have provided abundant photographic as well as acoustic measurements carried out in the nearest houses by a specialised company, which show "non-compliance" with the regulations. "In the most unfavourable case, the non-compliance was at least 38 dBA and the minimum non-compliance was at least 29 dBA," they explain in the complaint.

The residents state in their administrative complaint that they have filed "complaints with the town hall repeatedly and over the years; acting both individually and collectively, through their community presidents or administrators".

"Years demanding solutions to avoid the unbearable noise and collateral nuisance that these multitudinous events cause to their quality of life", the residents state in their collective complaint, while regretting to see that "they have not had the slightest effect on those who are obliged to ensure the peace and quiet of the residents and prevent the limits of environmental quality and emissions in the homes from being breached".

Relocation

As legal grounds the neighbours have used a Junta de Andalucía law which makes the town halls responsible for care of duty for its residents "From this malfunctioning of the public service arises the obligation of the town hall to compensate the citizens who have had to endure the noise pollution generated by these activities in their homes", the plaintiffs argue.

As such they are asking for a joint compensation of 198,000 euros per year for the noise and inconvenience caused since 2014, which makes a total of almost 1.2 million without counting this year's event.

Vélez-Málaga town hall announced last August that they are "in negotiations" with the Junta de Andalucía and Larios, as owner of the land, to move the fair and concert venue to a plot closer to the Río Vélez after the completion of the flood protection works, with the construction of a breakwater, which has been financed by the Malaga company.

"We don't think that this is the most appropriate solution because in that area there are also further housing developments pending. Who would buy a flat there knowing that they could have the fairground next to it?" argued another affected resident.

No response from town hall

Environmentalists are also opposed to the plans in the new PGOU to create an event area there because of its impact on the natural area of the Río Vélez. Another alternative option proposed by the residents is to move to the fairground in Prado del Rey, next to the El Ingenio shopping centre, where the Vélez-Málaga San Miguel fair is held in September.

The existing site used for large-scale events, Elrow 2022, cars parked on the pavement during the Elrow festival SUR
Imagen principal - The existing site used for large-scale events, Elrow 2022, cars parked on the pavement during the Elrow festival
Imagen secundaria 1 - The existing site used for large-scale events, Elrow 2022, cars parked on the pavement during the Elrow festival
Imagen secundaria 2 - The existing site used for large-scale events, Elrow 2022, cars parked on the pavement during the Elrow festival

Sources from the town hall replied that "the streets are clean, more than 50 trees have just been fixed and the children's playground closest to the Torre del Mar lighthouse has also been transformed. There is weekly street cleaning, with sweeping several days a week.” However, they have not responded to the complaints from residents about the summer festivals.

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