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Tailbacks of traffic are very frequent at the entrances to the Plaza Mayor shopping centre. SUR
Hundreds of local residents reject plans for major expansion of Plaza Mayor shopping centre in Malaga
Retail

Hundreds of local residents reject plans for major expansion of Plaza Mayor shopping centre in Malaga

The city council is demanding a more detailed study after receiving numerous complaints warning the area will become even more saturated with traffic

Jesús Hinojosa

Malaga

Tuesday, 23 April 2024, 20:01

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Hundreds of Guadalmar residents in Malaga have rejected plans to expand the Plaza Mayor shopping centre, warning the area will become even more saturated with traffic.

Project plans are currently being processed by the municipal urban planning department, and requires a modification of the general urban development plan (PGOU) that the city hall agreed with the owners of the site in an agreement signed in 2021. In exchange, the council will receive a payment of 3.8 million euros, as well as the construction of a 53,725-square-metre park, next to the San Julián neighbourhood.

But amidst processing this document, hundreds of fired up residents in the Guadalmar area and from the Almar association - which represents the voice of the neighbourhood - rejected the expansion as it will cause increased traffic in the area. In the letters of complaint, seen by SUR, residents said: "we are already suffering a total collapse of the exits from the urbanisation, representing a serious problem in the event of a health emergency, evacuation or natural disaster".

They pointed out that the new extension of Plaza Mayor "will increase noise and pollution, as well as increase the road danger associated with the greater influx of vehicles, and for all these reasons we express our great concern and opposition to what the Plaza Mayor shopping centre is proposing".

Residents said more traffic should not be directed to the Campo de Golf road, which the Plaza Mayor expansion project plans to widen from the Guadalmar residential debelopment to Avenida Manuel Castillo. Residents are also demanding traffic affected by the works be diverted to the Guadalmar motorway (MA-20) and the old airport road (MA-21).

Almar residents' association told town hall the population of Guadalmar, made up of some 4,000 residents, "are very peaceful, but the traffic jams they have been suffering since the extension of the commercial area was authorised are making people get angrier every day". It said there has been excessive commercial growth and a lack of solution to traffic issues that have arisen as a result.

New connection to the airport road

The complaints, which totalled 285, have triggered action from both the owners of Plaza Mayor and city hall. In February, the council approved for a road to be built which will connect the northern area of the shopping centre with the airport road, the old N-340. This thoroughfare, which will have two lanes, one for each direction of traffic, will allow both access to the Plaza Mayor area from the western end of Avenida de Velázquez and access to this road from the shopping centre. The project includes the construction of an underpass under the local train line that crosses the Bahía de Málaga shopping area. This project will involve an investment of 3.9 million euros and involve an estimated completion period of seven months.

Last February, the town hall asked the promoters of the Plaza Mayor extension to carry out a new traffic study of the area up to the MA-22 road, on the other side of the mouth of the Guadalhorce, and for extra detail to be included than the one prior, assessing how traffic will evolve in the years after the extension is completed. The council also asked for an evaluation of the impact caused by the sports facilities of the Malaga Academy in Arraijanal, which the residents of Guadalmar also pointed out. SUR can confirm the study is already in its final phase and will be delivered to the city hall in the next few days.

The extension of the Plaza Mayor retail and outlet park will cost 105 million euros, gaining 14,000 square metres for the expansion of the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet to the east, over part of the Mercadona supermarket car park, and a further 7,500 square metres for the extension of the existing Plaza Mayor shopping centre to the west, occupying part of the car park next to the Guadalmar dual carriageway. The lost parking spaces will be compensated with 292 new underground and surface parking spaces, bringing the total to 3,876 bays.

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