Marbella - The New Urban Plan is Published

After many years of negotiation between the Marbella town hall and the provincial planning authorities the newly approved PGOU was finally published on 20 May 2010. This final step completes the long and controversial process for the approval of the municipal urban plan. Marbella has the distinction of being the first of the large towns on the Costa del Sol to have its new town plan approved and this is the most significant event in the town planning system for Marbella for 24 years, since the last PGOU was approved. The PGOU also regularises over 16,500 dwellings that have been illegally built during recent years.

The new PGOU (Plan General de Ordenación Urbanística) for Marbella has its origins in the Andalucia land zoning law LOUA (Ley de Ordenación Urbanística de Andalucía. Ley 7/2002, of 17 December).

The new PGOU incorporates the necessary regulations and plans to bring Marbella's infrastructure up to date, essential for the town to cope with its expansion since the early 1990s and its future plans.

Sorting out the past irregularities; most of them anyway.

The PGOU contains provisions that effectively legalise over 16,500 apartments and houses that had been identified by the provincial planning authorities as having defective planning permission. In some cases the developers will have to pay penalties of up to 10,500€ per dwelling. Owners who bought in good faith will not be penalised.

Not all illegally built properties have been legalised. In some cases the regional authorities decided that some new properties were incapable of being accepted under the planning law as they are in such a gross breach of the regulations. Most notable amongst these is the Banana Beach development which adjoins the industrial zone to the east of Marbella. Part of this property is situated where the planned high speed railway underground station is to be located. The unfortunate owners of this development are left with having to proceed through the courts to protect their property interests, with all the uncertainties that this involves.

The new regulatory environment, which makes liberal use of the penal code as well as stiff financial penalties for illegal building, will ensure that the sins of the past that resulted in uncontrolled and unsustainable development will not be repeated in the future.

Infrastructure improvements

The PGOU contains plans for vital new amenities and services, such as schools, health centres, sports centres, parks and roads. Together with the upgrading of the town's infrastructure for electricity, telecommunications, water supply and sewage plants, there can be no doubt that within the coming decade, Marbella will become a truly 21st century centre for tourism and commercial activities.

The new railway terminus in Marbella will provide a high speed rail (AVE) connection to Madrid in two and half hours and provide local train connections giving access to Málaga city centre within 30 minutes, as well as Málaga airport together with the rest of the Costa del Sol.

Marbella to attract substantial new investment

The town hall hopes that the three cornerstones of the new PGOU will restore confidence and investment interest in the town. The buzzwords are green, functional and forward-thinking. Marbella certainly needs something to kick-start its economy and this, hopefully, could be it.

The residential and commercial redevelopment of the industrial zone currently located next to the beach will provide significant business opportunities as well as greatly improving the image of the town. Negotiations are underway to relocate the current occupants of the zone to a new industrial park planned for the north of the town.

Marbella will have 5 times Spain's legally established minimum green area per inhabitant and so the people of Marbella will certainly have plenty of recreational space. New town hall amenities with a total of 2 million square metres are planned and so Marbella will have the infrastructure to be able to reclaim its reputation as an upscale resort that can compete worldwide for business and private investment.