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The regional minister of public works during the meeting of the POT in Malaga Moreno
Key Junta planning document envisages extension of Costa del Sol train line and a motorway free of toll charges
Planning

Key Junta planning document envisages extension of Costa del Sol train line and a motorway free of toll charges

The urban planning document, which is in the final drafting phase, considers turning the A-7 into a major metropolitan corridor along the coast

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Monday, 1 July 2024, 11:57

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A coastal railway extended along the length of the Costa del Sol, as well as a motorway that is free to travel on, has been set out in an important Junta de Andalucía planning document.

These were established in the Spatial Development Plan (POT) of the Costa del Sol at a meeting last week, attended by regional minister for development Rocío Díaz, as well as representatives from nine town councils. However, there was no representation from the Spanish government.

The document - which addresses the future needs of nine municipalities in the province: Marbella, Estepona, Fuengirola, Mijas, Benahavís, Manilva, Ojén, Istán and Casares - outlined three main interconnected axes: the Costa del Sol railway, the scrapping of the tolls on the AP-7 motorway which then allows for the third aspect, to transform the A-7 into a long metropolitan avenue.

The document specified the extension of the railway as far as Estepona, but options are open to extend it even further. "What is important for the Junta from a land-use planning policy point of view is the definition of the infrastructures and the key elements through which it must pass," said José Andrés Moreno, director general of urban planning.

Moreno said the central government in Madrid is responsible for executing the rail project "and it is an issue that is under debate". "The important thing for regional planning is to contemplate the key points of this connection. There will be a subsequent debate, which we hope to have with the ministry, on exactly what the key points of this infrastructure are going to be, but what is clear is that it is a very necessary demand," Moreno added.

"Residents along the coast are demanding it"

The minister of public works pointed out the document includes the coastal train and the elimination of the motorway toll because "all the people of Malaga and residents along the coast are demanding it". "We ask the government of Pedro Sánchez to listen to the people of Malaga, the coastal train must provide a transport solution to all the municipalities of the coast, to Marbella, Estepona and Algeciras, and it must be addressed. There is a transport problem, we all agree, the debate is in the street, that is why the plan includes the free motorway, because we have taken into account the submissions."

The final document includes the submissions received and responded to. In total, there were 64 documents, with 295 requests, and 60% of them have been accepted, especially those from the town councils. "Their requests have been taken into account, we have listened to the region and the citizens". The POT is expected to be finally approved within a year.

Silence from the central government

On this point, Rocío Díaz said that during the recent European election campaign, the government announced a round table with Costa del Sol municipalities and the Junta to address the railway project. "They told us that they were going to contact us, but we have not received any kind of communication from them: the Andalusian government has not received any appointment to deal with this vitally important issue, and we believe that it is once again an electoral announcement that has come to nothing," the councillor said.

"It is advisable that they [central government] get into listening mode, that we sit down, evaluate with studies and papers, and we can decide what we are going to do with the municipalities involved and with the Diputación." Díaz added: "We have an opportunity to improve mobility in the province and on the Costa del Sol and we can't waste it".

The third mobility suggestion in the POT is to divert most of the long-distance private traffic to a future toll motorway, so the current A-7 motorway can be converted into a more urban and metropolitan corridor.

Declared null and void

The drafting committee of the Western Costa del Sol Spatial Development Plan unanimously approved the report. The final version of the plan will be assessed for its environmental sustainability prior to final approval.

The previous POT of the Western Costa del Sol, approved in 2006, was declared null and void by the Supreme Court in 2015, leaving a large part of Malaga province without spatial planning coverage. At the beginning of the last legislature, the Junta resumed the drafting of the plan together with the town councils.

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