Monday, April 09, 2007

Vera becomes a City

José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the president of Spain, has recently bought a bungalow on Vera Playa for a modest 440,000 euros. Actually, it’s not very big, at 120 square metres, and it used to belong to an Englishman who no doubt took a tidy profit. The problem (according to Interviú – a racy Spanish magazine) is that Vera is planning the largest re-zoning of territory in Spain, with an estimated 400,000 new neighbours to lean over the wall of Zapatero’s pad to ask if they can borrow a cup of sugar.
The magazine estimates the profits for the builders of the Vera urbis of 115,000 homes, countless hotels and golf courses, at around 8,000 million euros. To do this, Vera needs to become a special ‘zona estratégica’ to ignore the strict new building rules being brought in by the Junta de Andalucía. The magazine reckons that if the plans put forward by the eight surrounding town halls were to be approved, then the Baja Almanzora would be, in a few years, the largest urban concentration in Spain – larger in area than Madrid.
Of course, there’s not enough roads, water, electric and – if we keep on putting up basketball courts – then beaches as well.
It’s the politicians to get to make these decisions, sometimes with a little help. One builder taken away recently by judge Baltazar Garzón's tax police, had this written in his computer: ‘if we get what we want, we shall pay XX 35 million and a further 15 million for the party’. Pesetas, perhaps.
The dry ramblas – river-beds – are filling with houses and shopping malls. Flooding is inevitable. You want green space? How about the space inside the roundabouts? That’s green (according to the Vera town hall planners).
Unlike 94% of the entire municipality of Vera – to be under brick and mortar.

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