The Junta de Andalucía has had a spectacular volte face and has declared the “La Ballabona” luxury city project “in the Interest of Tourism” (de interés turístico). 10,000 houses, a golf course, associated services and even a casino are part of the plans according to La Voz de Almería.
The La Ballabona project (which is that vast amount of citrus trees between Antas and Huercal Overa – look for the petrol station of the same name) was assumed to have been cancelled after the Junta, in 2007, published a new law forbidding the construction of homes based around a golf course. The idea was to create fewer resorts in the middle of nowhere and encourage sensible urban planning around pre-existent urban nuclei. All golf courses were to be built for public use.
It seems that part of the reason given for allowing La Ballabona to go ahead (it’s all based around a golf course, in strict contradiction to the decree) is that it has its own water source. Of course, what nobody is saying is that the aquifer it is tapping is the same aquifer that feeds the rest of the area.
It’s worth pointing out at this point that the municipality of Huercal Overa has 16.683 people (2006 census), or aprox 7250 homes.
La Ballabona now has to go through the normal urban planning hoops, but since the Junta has given the go – ahead… I suspect the local mayor is not exactly against the plan, given that he and 5 of his councillors are currently under investigation for Urban Corruption (etc. etc. etc. – our old buddies from Dizu are there too!) and the only other hurdle is the Water Authority, who are probably delighted to be able to up the usage of their fancy new desalination plants.
La Voz de Almería reckons that other “paralysed” projects in the area – such as Nuevo Cortijo Grande (originally 50,000 homes up in Cabrera, later cut down to 15,000), Lopez Rejas in Los Gallardos & Bedar (aprox 6,000 homes) or Sorbas Canyon in Sorbas – will now be reapplying under the same excemptions.
The POTALA contemplates the La Ballabona project, which is bloody stupid as just down the road is the Llano Central, and La Ballabona is sandwiched in between Antas industrial estate and the pig farms of Huercal.
Now, while many excuses will be coming out of Seville as to why this project is going ahead, it’s simple – it’s too big to stop and Seville knows it. Which is why Luis Caparros (better known as “Mr Bulldozer”, the Junta demolition man in the area) smiles and genuflucts and is happy that his holiday home is not in Almeria Levante.
BTW – what will the announcement of 10,000 new houses do to resale prices in this area?