Council war on noise will ‘kill’ Benalmadena’s Puerto Marina bars

POLICE will no longer turn a blind eye on bars and discos in Benalmadena’s Puerto Marina playing music on their terraces.

The police will make owners close terraces at 2am, according to a local Spanish Press report. 

One local bar owner told EWN he fears this will kill the local nightlife and be a ‘death sentence’ for his business.

The move by the town hall follows threats by a group of residents to sue it for failing to enforce existing regional noise regulations. 

They have campaigned for years to stop noisy bars and clubs ruining their right to peace and quite in their homes.

In July 2008, Velez-Malaga Town Hall was ordered to pay 18 residents of a busy nightlife area known as El Copo €2.8 million euros compensation for failing to deal with noise complaints in the area.

The measures will not affect the activity inside, so bars and pubs can remain open until 3am at weekends and nights which come before holidays, and discos until 6am, an hour earlier during the rest of the week.

Since August, several of the main establishments in the port were told by the town hall to close until they remove their terraces. Nevertheless, they remain open with tables and chairs outside.

One Puerto Marina bar owner – who asked not to be identified to avoid “attracting problems” – said: “We have all been denounced and are waiting to see how much our fines are. For minor infractions the fine can be €300 upwards.”

He fears this latest clampdown on outdoor trading “will no longer be attractive to people looking for a night out.” People buying property in the Puerto Marina were “aware it was in a nightlife area,” he said.

“Most are rented out anyway and the owners making the complaints live elsewhere. They just want the town hall to pay them compensation.”

Another man who has owned a bar for 18 years told EWN: “We feel like we are waiting to hear our death sentence.”

He also asked to remain anonymous as “there is a lot of nastiness from the residents” and said he was worried the town hall would close his venue. “Due to the restrictions on closing times and music, many bars have had to close,” he said. “When we could stay open until 6am we had a lot of clientele, but now that we have to close earlier many people choose to have their meals and drinks at the restaurants which can stay open until 2am and go straight to the discos,” he said.

“This is destroying our lifeblood. I used to have 22 staff, now I have just 12,” he said, and warned if the noise crackdown has the effect on his business he fears, he may have to let more go.

Some Puerto Marnina ‘terrace bars’ have closed, and several derelict, “being used as public urinals,” he said. “They are smelly, dirty and dangerous dark places where delinquents hide.

There has been more than one occasion that one of my barmen have had to help a resident going home who was accosted,” he said. “The council should concentrate on the real problems in society; prostitution, delinquency and street drinking which leaves the area in a mess.

Instead they are ensuring that a beautiful place that was a thriving hub and a great attraction to tourists will become an empty husk.”

Nobody from the town hall was available for comment when contacted by EWN.

Photo credit: James Yeadon
By Jennifer Leighfield and Nicole Hallett

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