Tarifa, Costa de la Luz, Andalucia, and its town council are at the centre of controversy as plans to build a 700,000 square metre luxury hotel and housing complex have been given the go ahead against the wishes of local residents and many environmental groups.
The planned scheme is set to be positioned between El Estrecho and Los Alcornocales Natural Parks, opposite the beautiful Playa de Valdevaqueros which is a UNESCO protected biosphere reserve, will be the equivalent to 700 football pitches in size and is that last thing the area needs.
Developers in Spain fail to recognise the impact such a complex will have on the environment and wildlife in the surrounding area. Places such as Torremolinos have come under heavy criticism down the years due to their unsympathetic planning and implementation of buildings, houses and hotels.
It is another case of people taking a short term view when it comes to development; letting money rule instead of sense.
Tarifa and the surrounding area is a stunning place, the golden shores and emerald waters of the Atlantic backed by the dark green hills and blue skies make a perfect landscape which is totally unspoilt, unlike many neighbouring towns and cities along the Costa del Sol.
The propose site sits directly in line with the migration path of many birds who travel between mainland Europe and Africa meaning a huge disruption and possible risk to wildlife numbers.
But environmental groups are fighting back and Juan Jose Lopez Uralde, spokesperson for EQUO is adamant that the fight is far from over stating that the plans are in direct violation of EU legislation.
“There is still much that can be done to avoid bricking over the unspoilt Valdevaqueros beach.”
“The brick economy has led us into the pit where we are now; the same recipes are not going to help us get out of it.”
“The town remains committed to economic and development models which have failed in practice and only contribute to enriching the few while destroying the heritage of all.”
The fight looks set to go on as Juan Andres Gil, PP Mayor of Tarifa is defending the project to the hilt and accusing the protesters of harming the local economy.
It would appear that his accusations are wide of the mark and with Spain’s current financial problems forcing up prices, the tourists are picking their holiday destinations more carefully and visitor numbers are down significantly against last year’s figures.
Furthermore there have been huge numbers of ex-pats leaving Spain for their countries of origin meaning that many houses are available on the market at cut prices.
All this begs the question, does Spain really need more hotels and houses?
So far the ‘Save Valdevaqueros’ Facebook page has been joined by over 15,000 members and numbers are still growing. Join them here: www.facebook.com/SalvemosValdevaquerostarifa
There is also a petition which you can sign here: http://www.change.org/es/peticiones/salvemos-valdevaqueros
Get involved in the fight to save this beautiful stretch of unspoilt coastline.
Please leave comments in he box below or let us know your feelings about the hotel development at Tarifa on our forums by clicking here.