The following is a story based on bar talk, accusations from the PP and the IU, public documents, personal involvement and my own memories.
Many years ago, Turre realised that it had to do something about the main street, the Avenida. At that point, it was a national road and the townhall couldn’t touch it. So a Mayor (I think it was Arturo Grima, before he was banned -for the first time- from holding public office, but it may have been someone else) asked for the road to be transferred to the townhall.
A number of years passed. Documents were submitted, and the wheels of Government ground their slow pace.
And now we are in (or around) 2005. The road is transferred to the townhall and everyone is pleased.
At the end of 2006, we saw a delightful plan for the new avenue, with no fewer than three roundabouts and even a new palm tree in place of the old one. I’ve lost my copy of the plan, but it was lovely.
Not much happened since, obviously, although this was cited as one of the reasons for the coup d’étât which saw PP Mayor Arturo Grima frogmarched to the wilds of political opposition (he was kicked out five months after the last elections, after the previous PSOE mayor, Granero, agreed to step aside from his position as leader of the PSOE in order to take up a lucrative job as a Climate Change Advisor to the Junta in Almería. This opened the way to a coalition which put our current mayor in charge).
IU councillor Martin Morales handed in a number of official complaints about it to the townhall and generally did his job, ie, be a nuisance to the government on behalf of the little people. For example, he refused to sit down during several plenary sessions until the Mayor did something about it. Good lad. People complained. Life went on.
He also released a video about it, here:
Anyway, the whole murky subject has now bubbled back to the top of the pot, and the plans have reappeared in a basement at Turre townhall. Easy to locate, they ain’t.
Expropriations are, I am told, immiment if not already underway.
A minor problem – there is a funding gap of just some 1,5 million euros which the townhall has promised to cover out of its’ own pocket. From where will they get this money, me wonders? I would expect that they’ve increased the total budget, got the three odd million euros from the Junta and the Diputación, and will now cut back so they don’t have to put any money in. Either that, or the works will stop halfway.
Anyway, it has been bought to my attention that the townhall has been promising residents who will loose land to the new Avenida that they have the option to receive an “extended building permit” which will allow them to, in future, build an extra storey on any building that is left after the bulldozers go through, instead of being compensated in cash. Perfectly legal: the townhall has the option to offer compensation in cash or in kind (they could, for example, swop the expropriated land for municipal land elsewhere).
A problem – Arturo, ex-mayor and head of the PP, points out that under regional planning laws Turre is now limited to three storeys, so anyone who exchanges their land for a permit to build up to four storeys is being sold magic beans.
So the townhall, to save having to spend money it’s accounted for but doesn’t have has promised (mainly elderly) locals something that it can’t fulfill. The townhall could give permission to build a skyscraper – the Junta would stop it.
Yes, there are some four storey apartment blocks in Turre – approved under older building legislation. Unless the population in the centre of Turre rises, the Junta will not increase the building density in the area.
A couple of houses are expected to be knocked down, including the ancient ruin at the top of the Avenida (just past La Pará). A palm tree has been promised in leui of the old one.
The old palm tree was an important symbol of Turre. When it died, Turreros murmured darkly about the “curse of la palmera“. “With that tree, so goes the fortunes of Turre” was the common lament. Efforts to replant a new tree there have always failed.