Gomendio, the powerful developer aiming to build 2,200 new houses and apartments on Cala Mosca, is claiming as a victory the rejection of a legal demand to suspend construction, while a court case to nullify the Orihuela Council approval of the construction project is being considered. Gomendio claims that the court rejection enables the start of building works and that Cala Mosca will be a landmark environmental project.
Gomendio’s claim that building 2,200 new homes on Cala Mosca, the last area of natural coast land remaining on Orihuela Costa, would be an environmentally friendly project is preposterous.
It would constitute the loss of the last green area on the 16 kilometre Orihuela coast, free from bricks and cement, and endanger two species, a rare flower and a snail, that are vulnerable and protected by European Union directives.
His claims that he would create an extensive micro reserve area that would ensure unparalleled protection to these species is unbelievable. It flies in the face of the neglect which he has shown to their protection before any building takes place.
C.L.A.R.O, which presented the original petition with over 7,000 signatures to the European Parliament in 2010, and succeeded in halting the development, recently submitted a complaint to SEPRONA, the environmental arm of the Guardia Civil, denouncing the abandonment of the two species which were originally protected by mesh fencing.
Over the years, the mesh fencing has been allowed to collapse. A few remaining traces of it lie in tatters on the ground (see photo). It no longer prevents walkers, cyclists and dogs from destroying the habitat of these two rare species.
This “denuncia” has been passed on to the Environmental Prosecutor’s office by SEPRONA who have informed C.L.A.R.O that it will also be forwarded to an Orihuela court in order to establish whether the abandonment of the protection of the species constitutes an offence.
It is the Ministry of Transport that has taken the Orihuela Town Council to court to overturn the Council’s decision last September to approve the latest version of the plan to urbanize Cala Mosca.
The Ministry claims that the decision is illegal since it disregards their objections to the plan which would greatly increase the already congested road traffic on the national road, the N332 which is the main exit from the planned development.
The court has not yet considered the substance of the case against the Orihuela Town council, only the demand that during the proceedings building works should not go ahead. Claiming that rejection of this demand enables works to start is a public relations exercise by Gomendio to put pressure on the Orihuela Town Council to grant licenses which are required before building can take place.
The developer conveniently ignores other outstanding legal, environmental and social considerations which should prevent construction of a mega project which would add 20% to the registered population of Orihuela Costa and risk a serious deterioration in the already deficient services and facilities available to residents.
The legal and environmental considerations include a provision in pending legislation called PATIVEL, which would prevent building on about one third of Cala Mosca unless construction is completed by May, 2023. This legislation is currently subject to appeals by major developers in Valencia opposed to the limitation of land on which they can build.
If the opinion of environmental groups is accepted, similar proposed legislation, PAT for VEGA BAJA, which includes Orihuela Costa, would classify all of Cala Mosca as belonging to the green infrastructure of the area and would prevent the planned urbanization.
C.L.A.R.O. has joined these environmental groups in supporting this amendment to the proposed legislation. But the most immediate, serious obstacle to construction on Cala Mosca is the court case launched by the Ministry of Transport
Let us hope that the Orihuela governing coalition of the Popular Party and Ciudadanos, which together approved the modified project for construction on Cala Mosca last September, will not be pressured into granting building licenses as urged by Gomendio. There are still too many obstacles which would need to be overcome before this could be justified.
And the municipal election in May next year are just around the corner. There would be little support then for political parties if, before, they have given a final necessarily controversial go ahead to this socially, economically and environmentally ruinous project to cover with bricks and cement Cala Mosca, treasured so highly by Orihuela Costa residents and more widely.