The regional government has authorised the installation of a beach bar (chiringuito) and shop on the iconic virgin beach of Mónsul, deep within the Cabo de Gata nature park.
But ecologists, residents and the local council are all opposed to the plan, which was never put out to consultation. The beach is one of the most unspoilt coastal areas in this region of Spain.
The Mayor of Níjar, Esperanza Pérez, spoke out against the plan, saying they needed to be “looked at afresh”. When asked for her opinion, she said: “This is an old style project which does not fit in with the type of non-urban beach management that my town is trying to create”. But her council has no say over the matter, which is purely in the hands of the Junta de Andalucía.
The tender, published last week, is the continuation of a beach development plan first mooted in 1995 but later shelved. It calls for offers for the building of a 313 square metre restaurant set on a plot of 2,000 square metres, which must also include a souvenir & basic foodstuff shop, public toilets and a non-staffed public information point.
The project warns investors that “no public utilities are available” and that the chiringuito must be self-sufficient. It must also be open for a minimum of eight months a year, seven days a week, for at least six hours a day. Gaming machines are not permitted.
Mónsul chiringuito will be one of the first major beach projects to be approved after the 2014 reform of the Coast Law, whose original incarnation tried to ban all beach bars and establish a protected space on beaches within which no buildings, including homes, could be built or maintained.
The beach is a UNESO declared ‘Biosphere Reserve’, and has been the set for many films. Indiana Jones and the last Crusade, The wind and the lion or Adventures of Baron Manchausen are three famous films partially filmed there.
The chiringuito is understood to be sited at the back, half way along the sweeping beach, which this year was called one of Europe’s best secret unspoilt beaches by The Telegraph.