Sunday, 3 November 2013

Tragic news for 200 families from La Herradura as they face having their homes demolished!!
One home has had to be demolished because it was falling down and another five have demolition orders in place and 12 more have had to be evacuated. The rest see cracks in their buildings as the earth moves beneath their feet. The properties are built on the steep eastern side of a large headland called Cerro Gordo and the first question which has to be asked is whether the Cármenes del Mar urbanisation has been built on protected land as many locals believe. The huge urbanisation, which was built at the end of the nineties, has cast a large block of concrete over the headland, which at first sight anyone would ask, ‘Who gave permission for this?’ So blatant is the development. The problems of subsidence started after two years when the first properties were built, and at that time the constructors corrected the problems, shown by cracks in the separation walls between the houses and terraces and pavements lifting, straight away, because they still had more houses to sell. With the sales complete, it was a different story with request for repair left unattended.
The proprietors in the urbanisation have now sat those responsible for the construction on the accused bench. They include those who carried out a geological study before building, engineers, architects and the construction company, Cerro Gordo S.L. which is part of the Granada Company Comarex. El País has tried to get in touch with Comarex, to obtain their version, without success. After the oral hearing ten days ago, the judge ordered a two week recess to try to get both sides to reach an agreement, but the residents say they have no confidence in that. Ricardo López is the spokesman for the property owners and has said, ‘Cármenes del Mar is the largest example of a real estate company getting rich because of how they did things during the real estate boom’. Martín who left Madrid because of stress and who purchased a property in Cármenes del Mar said it was a juicy offer, 120,000 € for a house with spectacular views to La Herradura bay. ‘ The residents commissioned a study by the Professor of Civil Engineering at Granada University, José Chacón, who determined in a report issued in 2008, that the techniques used in the construction were not adequate for an unstable terrain. The residents’ claim that the administrations, from the Almuñécar Town Hall to the Junta de Andalucía already knew about the problems with the land before construction started. The cost of stabilising the ground using contention walls will cost 15 million € according to the technicians contracted by the residents, and the 25 million which has been estimated by Almuñécar Town Hall. The spokesman for the property owners has said the constructor’s insurance and for all the other professionals who worked in the urbanisation, reaches barely 5 million €. The Mayor of Almuñécar, Trinidad Herrera, of the Partido Popular, supports the residents, but adds that the Town Hall ‘does not have the technical or economic means to start the renovations’, and she passed the buck to the Junta de Andalucía. The Junta says it can’t act, because it is not in its competence, meanwhile the Cerro Gordo continues to slide bringing further deterioration to the 400 families homes. It now remains what the judge has to say when the two weeks are up in four days time. Thanks to Noward Brereton for this report

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