The well-known historic lighthouse at the old sea entrance to Malaga's port - known as La Farola - is to be classed as a protected monument. The top-level BIC (Bien de Interés Cultural) status for the iconic 1817 building is being processed by the national ministry of Culture and brings with it a strict set of restrictions, which is already causing controversy with local politicians.
La Farola lighthouse is just several hundred metres from the site of the planned five-star skyscraper hotel in the city's cruise terminal. While the Conservative-controlled local and regional governments are in favour of the tower, the Socialist-controlled government has been seen to be dragging its heels on final planning permission for the hotel. The city is split on the tower. Opposition to it stems from its effect on the port landscape.
As well as preventing modifications to the lighthouse and its immediate area, the planned new decree also adds a phrase, "Beyond the physical space, it is essential to respect the visual surroundings of the lighthouse." City leaders believe this vague terminology may be an attempt by Madrid to complicate planning permission for the hotel.
Malaga's councillor for Planning, Raúl López, said the move was just one more example of "being up against systematic harassment by the government of the project for the tower in the port".
Both the city council and the port authority claim it is down to the regional government and not central government to give the La Farola protected status.