Mega shopping centre and leisure complex Intu near Torremolinos off the rails

by Lorraine Williamson
leisure complex @DiarioSur

TORREMOLINOS – The highest judicial body TSJA has cancelled the zoning plan review (PGOU) for Torremolinos due to the absence of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (EAE) in the initial planning stages of the mega leisure complex. 

With the ruling, the TSJA paralyses a plan that includes a mega-recreation complex by the British promoter Intu. This was due to be built on a ​​​​235,000 square metre area. Furthermore, with an investment of more than €800 million. The leisure complex was to include a shopping centre, 70 restaurants, an urban farm, a wave pool, a beach club. An auditorium and a hotel would also be built. The location was planned south of the Torremolinos exit of the A7 and north of the Palacio de Congresos. The PGOU also included a park surrounding the municipality with bicycle paths and the construction of 6,000 homes. 

Restore 1960s splendour

The now-defunct zoning plan was an essential part of Social Democratic Mayor José Ortiz’s strategy to restore the splendour and glory of 1960s Torremolinos, where Hollywood stars such as Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth or Frank Sinatra vacationed. 

Therefore, the municipality of Torremolinos wants to lodge an appeal in cassation against the ruling. The court’s ruling, which the Malaga Hoy newspaper has had access to, follows an appeal filed by the Compensation Council of ‘La Cizaña’ of Torremolinos. This requested the “total nullity of the revision of the PGOU of Torremolinos. And was for an infringement of the environmental procedure as they want the land of ‘La Cizana’ – at least in part – to be labelled as unconsolidated urban land”. However, the council wants this land to be recognised as “consolidated urban land”. 

Cogesa Expats

According to the ruling, the court declares the resolution of 11/28/17 of the Territorial Commission for Land Management and Urban Planning of the Junta de Andalucía – which agrees to the revision of the PGOU of Torremolinos – as “not in accordance with the law, therefore null and void.” “. 

Strategic environmental assessment as a prevention tool 

The CSJ exposes a doctrine that “uses the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as a prevention tool. This makes it possible to integrate environmental aspects into the decision-making of public plans. Its purpose is to anticipate environmental protection before decisions are made. In addition, an environmental impact assessment must be applied from the start of processing the plan. 

The current zoning plan came into effect in 2020 after years of haggling and bureaucracy replacing the 1996 ruling. 

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