By Euro Weekly News Media • 18 October 2012 • 15:59
SAVE CALA MOSCA - Bob Houliston presenting the petition in Brussels in 2010
THE fight to halt over-development on the Orihuela Costa has taken a small step closer to victory.The Cala Mosca building project on the Orihuela Costa has been halted and authorities are reviewing it to see if the project to build 1,500 new houses on the coastal site, submitted in 2007, should be subject to an environmental impact study.Bob Houliston, from the CLARO party welcomed this development as the petition he submitted to the European Parliament in 2010, supported by over 7,000 signatures, was discussed last week by the Petitions Committee.The European Commission said the long delay in responding to the CLARO petition had been caused by the need to have three exchanges of opinions on the subject with the relevant Spanish authorities.At first, the Spanish reaction, including that of the Orihuela Town Hall, was defensive, arguing that the building project was approved in conformity with planning regulations in force at a time before Spanish membership of the European Community required respect for European directives. However, in subsequent exchanges, the Spanish position has undergone a change and the authorities are now reviewing whether the project should be subject to an environmental impact study and other requirements under European law. The debate in the Petitions Committee showed support for the C.L.A.R.O petition which it was said showed a high degree of local residents’ concern to protect the local environment.Save Cala Mosca remains on the agenda and the next steps in exchanges between the European Commission and the Spanish authorities will determine if the building project is rejected or not. If it is rejected the Cala Mosca site remains the property of the developer and he may submit a new project, but it would have to comply with new European directives on environmental protection and urban development.Bob Houliston said: “There remains a good chance that we can save, if not all, at least a good proportion of Cala Mosca from excessive development which could provide Orihuela Costa with the possibility of a much needed natural park on the area which is not developed.”
By Gemma Quinn
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