The Costa Brava, from an old refuge for intellectuals and artists that have leaned to their superb cliffs, will put a stop to the concrete that has been dominating the coast. Stop, temper and command. The Generalitat, through the Girona Urban Planning Commission, has suspended the construction of 15,000 new homes as well as two hotels on the first and second beach line due to its impact on the landscape. This recent moratorium on building permits, added to the one announced on January 17, affects more than 2,000 hectares in 19 of the 22 municipalities of the Girona coastline and 214 kilometers of coastline, between Portbou and Blanes. After years of tourism based on cement, the idea now turns to the environment and sustainability in a place that aspires to be declared in 2021 Biosphere Reserve, distinctive awarded by Unesco for virgin ecosystems, well preserved and sustainable.
The Generalitat started in the Pyrenees and now it's the coast of Girona. The new urban planning plan (PDU), in public exhibition, aims to reorder the territory and even declassify urbanizable areas. One of the most affected municipalities is Roses, with 5,900 homes planned. In total, 17 municipalities do not have a general plan adapted to the current urban regulations.
Of 165 zones, all more than 500 meters from the coast, licenses have been suspended in 80, according to the Secretary of Urban Habitat and Territory, Agustí Serra. Some towns are as famous as Cadaqués or El Port de la Selva, Roses, Tossa de Mar or Sant Feliu de Guíxols, among others.
The ecologists of SOS Costa Brava, a platform that gathers some thirty entities are satisfied with the "courageous action" of the Generalitat. But there is no lack of discordant voices. Those who have inherited plots or bought lots to build a house consider it "very unfair". They are not big promoters or speculators, only neighbors who want to continue having a property in their hometown.
214 KILOMETERS OF LITTORAL AFFECTED BY THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT
NACHO CATALAN THE COUNTRY
The mayors of Begur, Joan Loureiro (ERC); the Port of the Forest, Josep Maria Cervera (PDeCAT), and Roses, Montse Mindan (PDeCAT), agree in criticizing that the suspension of licenses has been adopted with the backs of the City Councils. "We asked for a moratorium on the problem areas that we had, but they have affected the entire territory and where there was no problem now there is," says Loureiro. In addition to suspending licenses on consolidated urban land, "it affects private homes, of neighbors," laments Cervera, who ventures a crisis on small industrialists. He also criticizes that when establishing criteria they have not taken into account that their municipality is located "where the Pyrenees die and go into the sea, much of it in the Natural Park of Cabo de Creus, and as such they have their orography". They agree that it should review how the territory should grow and affect sectors that in 30 years have not developed, but both Mindan and the rest expect that "the consolidated urban soil is the first to be lifted the suspension "
"I bought a piece of land to invest, so that when I got my retirement I could sell it and live in peace, and now I find that I may have nothing left," laments a resident of El Port de la Selva. In Begur, Joana, tells how angry the land she inherited from her mother and this from her grandfather, in the 19th century, is in an approved urbanization and located between two other urbanizations already built. "For now I will not be able to make a profit from him or perhaps my children." Nor can you build your Ferran home, which has a plot between two houses. "There are very surreal cases," admits the Loureiro.
Roses, a town with a little more than 19,000 inhabitants, has 7,849 first homes and twice the second. The suspension of licenses will prevent that next year and perhaps until 2021, another 5,900 can be built. Something similar happens in Pals (about 2,400 inhabitants) or in Santa Cristina d'Aro.
The first suspension of building permits in January affected all "urban and unbuilt urban land" located in a strip up to 500 meters from the coast, with more than 50% of the land with a slope greater than 20%. This second moratorium, apart from the interior lots of 14 municipalities, will also affect other 8 sectors of undeveloped urban land located on the seafront that were not included in the first. It has been considered necessary because, despite not having an incline, "they could generate an important landscape impact", argues Serra. The towns of Castell-Platja d'Aro, Calonge and Sant Antoni and Castelló d'Empúries are excluded from both moratoria.
In Palafrugell the license to build a hotel in the area of Aigua Xelida, between two hills, is suspended because of its great landscape impact. In Begur two plans are paralyzed in the Aiguablava area, where they will try to "change the model". In Cadaqués, where Dalí lived, one of the most visited towns on the Catalan coast, the suspension also affects an undeveloped urban improvement plan, which aims to raise some thirty houses on a point of land that enters the sea, in the area of Caials. "It would be good to think if you leave the part that overlooks the free sea and is built behind, a reordering that improves the impact," says the deputy director of the department, Rosa Vilella. "They are not large sectors but because of their position it seems logical to defend them," he says.
The ecologists of SOS Costa Brava applaud the moratorium. "It indicates that they really want, apparently, to remedy the urban problem of the Costa Brava," says one of its spokespersons, Marta Ball-llosera. And they are hopeful. "The urban growth of the Costa Brava must be more sustainable. Ecologists fear that there may be challenges by the municipalities and, taking advantage of the municipal elections in May, will ask the political groups to define themselves regarding the plan.