Grafitti in the car park / SUR

'A disaster could happen again': residents protest over state of Torrox car park

People living in the town’s Pontil area are calling on the council to take action after 18 vehicles were set on fire last December

Eugenio Cabezas
EUGENIO CABEZAS

More than eight months after 18 vehicles were set alight in the Pontil public car park in Torrox Pueblo, nothing has been done and the abandoned facility is "even worse" than before, according to residents. Those living nearby have complained about "the neglect and lack of preventive measures" to avoid a repeat of last December’s fires.

The free public car park opened in 2007 and has never had any surveillance or control since then. "Although in a state of total abandonment, it remains open to the public, with no fire prevention measures," argued one of the residents, Nacho de Otto.

"We should be grateful that there were no personal injuries, given that the fire exits are condemned," warned the resident. De Otto went on to say that the government team "still keeps the car park open in this appalling condition, without having completed the improvements it promised".

De Ocho argues that "those affected have had no response from the town hall, all they were offered was a meeting with a lawyer from the council who, in no uncertain terms told them that the council is not responsible, that they should claim from their insurance companies and that was the end of it".

"I know that opposition parties have lent them their lawyers but nothing is happening and it has been eight months since the fire", said De Otto, who is most concerned "that a disaster could happen again, because nothing has been done to prevent it from happening again.”

He went on to say, "I am in permanent contact with the group of people who have joined together to go to court if there is no progress with the town hall.”

Upper floor sealed off

Town hall sources have denied that the state of the car park has worsened in recent years. "The fire extinguishers were taken the first day it opened in 2007 and every time we replace them they are stolen," they stressed. "It is better than ever now than in the 15 years it has been open; all the damage has been repaired, it is cleaned frequently and the Local Police are patrolling continuously," said the municipal sources consulted.

The town hall pointed out that the upper floor has been sealed off as it is not normally occupied but this seal has been broken. Sources emphasised that they are still working to approve a local bye-law that would allow joint management of the Pontil site, with 277 places, and the La Almedina site, which has 385 places.

The latter was abandoned by the concessionaire on 1 January 2020, claiming losses of more than 33 million euros. The town hall took over the management of the car park 15 months later. The Almedina car park opened in 2008 after a private investment of eight million euros.

There are no fire extinguishers in the car park / sur