Following years of objection, battles, protests and discussion, the developer who purchased the land at Cala Mosca, Gomendio, has submitted revised plans which the company hopes will allow for building on an area known as the last unspoilt plot of land on the Orihuela Costa.
The councillor for planning in the municipality of Orihuela, Antonio Zapata of the PSOE, announced this week that the company has modified the project based on an environmental study which was conducted to assess the impact the development would have on the area.
In terms of the revised plans however, one surprising element of the proposals which now take the environmental impact study into consideration is the fact that the promoter has not reduced the number of dwellings they intend to build.
As per the original proposal, these latest plans still provide for 1,500 homes on the land, so quite how the study has changed the development is unclear.
An endangered plant, the “jarilla cabeza de gato” whose scientific name is Helianthemum caput-felis, dwells especially in the uniquely environmentally rich area of Cala Mosca, along with a snail, Tudorella Mauritanica, both at risk of extinction and protected.
In 2013, a campaign by the coastal CLARO political group secured 1,000 signatures from residents hoping to protect the area, adding to the 7,000 strong signatures previously submitted in 2010 in a campaign that reached the European union, with Bob Houliston from CLARO, and the Mayor of the municipality, Monseratte Guillén, petitioning the newly appointed European parliament this year to ensure that they would continue to recognise the fight for this green area, which they duly did.
With the onus on protecting the environment for the creatures that reside within the area, there was also considerable concern from human residents who were worried that the only piece of open land that leads onto the Mediterranean coastline would be destroyed by the construction of the proposed housing estate.
On the other side of the coin of concern are a number of residents who offer no respect for the area at all. Despite the town hall frequently blocking off access to cars along the rugged cliff edge, the boulders put in place to prevent that access seem to mysteriously disappear, and cars still continue to drive on the open terrain that leads to a sheer drop, causing disturbances in the ground that frequently rain rocks and stones onto the beaches below.
Fences and gates have been removed or destroyed in the past, to enable pedestrian access too, despite warning signs of the danger, and with no concern for any damage being caused to the land in question.
Even this month, a local Spanish television station has taken up the plight of a number of complainants who visit the beaches at the bottom of the cliff side. However, these complaints that are not based around the almost impossible and extremely dangerous access points down to the beach, but because other visitors are allowing their dogs onto the sandy area and into the sea.
The Councillor for the coast responded by pointing out that the beaches of Cala Mosca are not officially recognised as beaches, and are therefore not part of any routine patrols by the police. However, the councillor has now asked the police to make frequent checks on the area and deal with any issues that they may see relating to safety, security or other potentially illegal activities as a result. Indeed, as they are not official beaches, they most certainly do not have any life guard services, which has been a complaint at the start of the summer as the contract for the official beaches was delayed, but in this area without any kind of protection, and where access and egress in the event of an accident would prove extremely difficult, the question of beach safety is clearly not the issue for those who chose to use the area.
Whichever way we look at the problem of Cala Mosca, there are those against the development, and those in favour. Indeed, one clear benefit to allowing the construction to continue would be the contractually required footbridge over the N-332 main road in the area. The construction will also avoid the council facing a legal claim from the builder who was sold the land
The plans have now been formally presented to Valencia, who will study if or how they comply with the requirements of the environmental impact study completed, and if they seem to think they are in order, then the next stage to potentially allow for building to commence and the area would begin, although the next stage would then take into account other matters of consultation relevant to urban planning, such as traffic, aesthetics, infrastructure, waste and the like, before the final approval for home to be built on Cala Mosca is given.
The plans, although extremely detailed and large, are available in the offices of the Planning Department in the town hall of Orihuela, which can be consulted by anybody wishing to see exactly where these buildings are set to appear, although Zapata has stressed that during this first consultation period, only arguments related to the that environmental study can be presented, and it is in the next stage when objections based on other matters can be raised.
Bob Houliston from CLARO, said, “Having had a first look at the Cala Mosca environment impact study and proposed modifications to the development project, CLARO has not yet taken a formal decision but it almost certain that we will present and encourage objections before the 30 day period for such objections expires.”
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44278/