BARRANCO BLANCO PROJECT NOT VIABLE

The Environment Ministry has declared a project to build 1,446 houses and apartments in Barranco Blanco, in Alhaurin el Grande municipality, “non-viable”, putting an end to months of controversy. The Junta de Andalucia had already objected to the project but Alhaurin Mayor Juan Martín Serón re-presented it, this time with fewer houses and all the building concentrated in the centre of Barranco Blanco’s 146.7 hectares. However, a topographical report said the land – with slopes of up to 40% in some parts – was totally unsuitable for building, requiring many support pillars and containing walls that would have a disastrous visual effect on the landscape in what it called “this ecological corridor” between the sierras of Mojas, Alpujata, Blanca, Bermeja and Coín. The Junta based its decision on the fact that the aquifer the developers planned to use for the urbanisation’s water supply was already very depleted. It also warned that the urbanisation would contaminate the water supplied to residents of Coin and Monda if its recycling system ever broke down. The urbanisation would also affect the Alaminos River, which was declared a Place of Community Importance by the European Union in 2006. Barranco Blanco is home to several protected species such as the mountain cat, the genet, the weasel and the tree marten. It is also a hunting ground for vulnerable species such as the peregrine falcon and the royal eagle, and more than 95% of the flora in the area are on the EU’s conservation list. Mayor Serón attacked the Junta’s decision as “sectarian” and “vengeful”. He belongs to the opposition party, the Partido Popular, while the Junta is Socialist. He also implied that a person he refused to name, who had occupied a high position in the Junta, had a personal interest in the matter.

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