The Camino de Málaga looking towards Plaza de las Carmelitas / e. cabezas

Traders up in arms over Vélez-Málaga pedestrianisation in run-up to Christmas

The local business association has called on the town hall to postpone the start of the work on the Camino de Málaga until after the festive period

Eugenio Cabezas
EUGENIO CABEZAS AXARQUÍA.

Traders along the Camino de Málaga road in Vélez-Málaga town centre are up in arms after learning that the town hall intends to start pedestrianisation work on Monday 28 November.

"We are complaining about the fact that the town hall is considering closing one of the busiest and most commercial streets in the centre during the run-up to Christmas, after announcing its festive activities with great fanfare, " said the president of the Association of Traders and Businesses of Vélez-Málaga (ACEV), Fernando Lisbona.

Lisbona went on to say, "This decision, taken thanks to a lack of planning in the competent area, has ruined all the work and effort to carry out all the activities planned to revive and encourage the economy after two years of pandemic, so we do not rule out claiming damages from the council.”

ACEV has asked for the work to be postponed until 9 January, "considering that with so many festivities and so few working days it would not be excessively detrimental to the project," they added.

Deadlines set by the EU

The town hall has responded to the association’s complaint saying that the project to pedestrianisation the town centre began several years ago. "These works are going to notably favour the revitalisation of the centre and, especially, local businesses, as has been demonstrated in the main Spanish and European cities that have pedestrianised their streets, responding to a more modern, richer, habitable and sustainable city model,” councillors argued.

The town hall added that the work "is partly financed by European funds, so Europe establishes the deadlines in which the work must be done, and it is essential to respect them to avoid losing the grant."

The town hall went on to say, “Christmas is a very special time to be with family and friends and it is not right to spoil it. The town hall has prepared a unique and special programme that will go ahead with more than 45 activities over 35 days.” The municipal sources consulted have pointed out that, in principle, the work will commence on Monday 28 November as planned.

The contract to carry out the work was awarded a month ago to the Malaga-based construction company Bilba Andalucía S.L., for just over one million euros, 80 per cent of which will be financed with European funds, with a completion period of eight months.