Government to reclaim Spanish beaches

The policy to reclaim the beaches, which according to Spanish law are public domain, may mean the end of the popular beach bars in Andalucia

According to an article in El País this weekend, the Town Hall in Chipiona, Cadiz has decided that this summer will be the last for its 3 beach bars on playa Cruz del Mar. This decision is part of a plan to reinforce public rights to beaches on the Andalucian coast.

The Ministry for the Environment is considering recovering around 600,000 m2 of public space on the Andalucian coast, including 35,000 m2 in Cadiz province and 2,800 in Chipiona itself. Most of the recovered areas will be achieved in agreement with local town halls or by better planning of existing areas.

The 3 bars that the town hall is planning to pull down are el Playa Augusto, el Casa Reyes and el Muelle Casa Luis. The bar owners concerned are not happy at all. Furthermore no clear alternative for their businesses to continue have been offered yet. One possibility mentioned was for their bars to be placed somewhere off the sand near the beach.

However, Diego Rodríguez, proprietor of Casa Luis said that everybody just wanted to stay where they were. He said that his bar had been there for 52 years. Casa Reyes, had also been there for a similar amount of time although the bar was pulled down in 1979 and a new one built at a cost of 240,000 euros.

The Director of Coastal Territory in Cadiz, Federico Fernández, has assured the bar owners that any final decision will be based on consensus. In addition he reminded those concerned that the Dirección General de Costas is a law which gives priority to public use of beaches along the whole of the Spanish coastline, and that each province had the right to enforce this law.

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