An overview of the POTALA – Annex 1

It is worth commenting on a few points that have been raised about the POTALA. There are a number of rumours -correct and wrong- floating around in the English language press about it, and for lack of anything else to do I may as well try to set them right, as based on my understanding from local Spanish press, government bullitins and press releases.

1.- The POTALA is set in stone.

The POTALA is an overall plan. It does not regulate down to the metre. Instead, it aims to classify areas for different uses, in the context of the overall area rather then the individual town. IE, for Turre it sets the mountains aside for natural park and recreational use and allows development towards Mojacar, although the Town Hall of Turre wants (or wanted, under the previous corrupt regime of that b*****d mayor who I can´t stand) to build 54000 homes in the mountains and not join up with Mojacar. Exactly how the town hall decides to develop that land is up to market pressure and the local town hall.

2.- The POTALA is retrospective.

The POTALA is for the future. If, say, illegal homes in Vera are in an urbanisable area, then the town hall has some flexibility towards their legislation, if the town hall wants to. If the homes are outside that area, then whatever legal wrangling is in process will continue, and the judge will not take the POTALA into consideration when ruling on their legality. Instead, the judge or legal authority will take into consideration the legal status of the land and its surroundings at the time of construction / or sale.

3.- The POTALA develops infrastructure.

Again, only future infrastructure. So, for example, with the AVE train, the POTALA has been developed to take the current route into account, not the other way around. The route could still change without having to modify the POTALA: As an example, the disputed high power lines from Antas to Mojacar, the POTALA outlines “electrical corridors” for electric lines which are in a different place from the current lines, but this cannot be used in court as an argument for moving the lines (despite the fact that the lines have been declared illegal by the court in Almeria). The POTALA simply suggests to local planners that all future lines be sent down the same corridor unless there is a good reason otherwise.

4.- The POTALA defines future government budgets.

This is more or less correct. The POTALA regulates a 5 billion euro investment in the area, which will be spent in conjunction with private investors and the town halls. So if the town halls develop the areas designated as industrial zones, together with private investors, then the monies will be released from the regional coffers. This assumes, of course, that the money is left in the coffers – who´s to say what will happen in 2014? Unlikely that any of those 5 billion euros will be left by then! However, the yearly government development budgets will also be included in this overall amount.

If I spot any other rumours that are obviously wrong, I´ll try to correct them here.

Read An Overview of the POTALA:

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