Renovation work has begun on what was once a nuns' residence. Salvador Salas
Reception centre plans revealed for 200 migrants on municipal border between Malaga and Torremolinos

Reception centre plans revealed for 200 migrants on municipal border between Malaga and Torremolinos

Residents in Churriana have voiced concerns about the facility in what was once the residence of the nuns of the Assumption

Jesús Hinojosa


Friday, 26 April 2024, 17:20


The residents of the El Olivar residential estate in Churriana, on the border between the municipalities of Malaga and Torremolinos, have been worried since renovation work began on the building which until now has housed a residence for the nuns of the Colegio de La Asunción.

According to various sources consulted by SUR, this building, located on Avenida de la Asunción, has changed hands, having been rented by a company, and is in the process of being converted into a reception centre for migrants managed by the Malaga branch of the Spanish commission for refugee aid (CEAR).

Specifically, this social organisation plans to transfer to this building the two hundred places that it has been offering since last November at the Unamuno school in the northern part of El Palo, in order to continue providing shelter to vulnerable migrants from the Canary Islands. Sources close to CEAR have indicated that there will probably be a few less places than the two hundred they have in Unamuno, because the facilities of the former residence of the Religiosas de la Asunción do not have the physical capacity to house that number.

According to these sources, CEAR's intention is to set up a temporary reception centre in this building, with a limited duration period, possibly not covering the whole of this year, in order to respond to the government's mandate to receive migrants who cannot be attended to in the Canary Islands. In this sense, they pointed out that the emergency situation that justifies this service would expire, according to current forecasts, on 31 July. They also explained that the reason for the transfer from the Unamuno school is that the rental contract for part of the school's facilities is due to expire, which is why it is necessary for them to relocate to Churriana.

However, although it could be temporary, the establishment of this reception centre for migrants has caused great concern among the hundred or so residents who live in this quiet area in the southern part of Churriana, opposite the Benítez camp site, where a large number of the houses are villas with large garden areas and swimming pools. This was stated to SUR by the president of the residents' association of El Olivar, Alejandro Vedia, who considers that this building is not the right place for a centre of these characteristics.

Consultation with urban planning department

"We believe that the urban planning classification of this building does not allow it to house a facility of this type, so we have asked the municipal urban planning department whether the renovation work being carried out has a licence, and what uses are permitted on the plot in accordance with its current urban planning situation", said Vedia, who has also sent a letter to the area of commerce and public roads to enquire about the permits to carry out this activity.

The town planning department has sent a letter to the residents in which it states that "having consulted the database of the licensing service, there is no record of any application for a building permit". However, municipal sources consulted by SUR have clarified that, in relation to this matter, a request has been registered for the placement of a skip to be used for the refurbishment of some bathrooms, an action that does not require planning permission.

The residents have doubts as to whether it is possible to set up a reception centre for migrants in this former residence of the nuns (they have not yet received a response from town planning regarding the permitted uses of the building), and for this reason they will continue to question the town hall about the permits for the possible opening of such a facility in this building. On the other hand, the company that has rented the residence to the nuns of the Assumption has assured that its possible use as a centre for migrants managed by CEAR is "perfectly compatible" with its urban planning classification.

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