No demolitions whatsoever of occupied homes, no matter how illegal. That was the campaign promise of María Ángeles Muñoz, the lady mayor of Marbella, and it is a promise she appears to be sticking to as she turns up the pressure on the regional government in Seville to rule out demolitions in Marbella’s new town-plan, currently in the final stages of preparation.
Muñoz recently made it clear that every single occupied home in Marbella will be legalised in the latest draft of the town-plan she will submit to the town council for approval on Wednesday 29 July. That puts her on a collision course with the urban planning department of the regional government in Seville, who drafted the original plan, and who emphatically rule out legalising some 500 occupied properties spread over 3 developments, the best known of which is Banana Beach.
In Muñoz’s latest draft, the illegal developments Banana Beach and Rio Real are included in the town planning amnesty in return for giving up their gardens and parking areas to the town hall, whilst the La Víobra development gets legalised if it is modified to avoid any risk of flooding.
The first draft of the new town-plan, drawn up by the government in Seville after the town hall in Marbella was suspended for rampant corruption, envisaged the legalisation of 18,000 properties in return for land from developers, but left 700 occupied properties out of the amnesty. In negotiations between Marbella town hall and Seville, that was brought down to 500 in the provisional draft approved in July 2008. Close to the end of the drafting process, Muñoz is now pushing hard to extend the amnesty to all occupied properties, including Banana Beach and Rio Real, calling it “justice for all people who bought in good faith.”
Both sides have established their ‘red lines’, which don’t appear to offer any solution. Someone will have to give, and it will have to be soon. One way or another, the town planning chaos that has poisoned the Marbella property market for years is drawing to a close.