Recreation of how the sloping roof will look when finished. / SUR

Go-ahead given to finish city's cathedral roof after 240 years

When building work stopped in the eighteenth century, Malaga Cathedral was left with no proper sloping roof and now suffers from serious leaks

J. HINOJOSA / N. HESKETH MALAGA.

It is a favourite story to tell visitors to Malaga that the city's magnificent cathedral has lain unfinished for 240 years. Now it looks like church and local authorities have finally reached a consensus to get on with the job - or at least the most urgent part of it.

The part to be added won't be the famous missing tower - which is the origin of the cathedral's nickname of La Manquita (the one-armed lady). Instead, the building will get an outer, rainproof cover to go over the existing roof.

Since the building work halted in 1782, the cathedral has had to rely on a weaker, inner roof covering it from the elements. Despite attempts to patch it up and find a cheaper solution as recently as 12 years ago, the roof is now leaking dangerously again and threatening the historic building overall.

Experts from the regional government's Culture ministry this week gave the green light to the Bishop of Malaga's plan to put a proper sloping roof over the present structure, as originally planned by the architect in 1764, and solve the water and damp problem once and for all.

The new outer roof will be made of wood and steel, use tiles in honey and cream to match the stonework of the cathedral and have walkways inside to create a new visitor attraction.

Church bosses will now need to find the estimated 10 million euros to go ahead with the roof, although funding is expected to be available from different public authorities. The bishop has said he wants to start as soon as possible and the mayor of the city has promised he will fast-track the planning permission.