On Thursday one little machine could be seen slowly working away at a building in Marbella. Little by little it knocked away the bricks, cement and plaster, gradually turning 34 homes into a pile of rubble. Thirty-four homes that were never lived in, thresholds that no one was ever carried over, walls that never heard babies cry or lovers fight or elderly bones creak. In fact, 34 homes that should never have been there in the first place.
Demolition has started on the Golf Río Real development, which has received more publicity since it appeared at the top of the illegal construction black list than its promoters could ever have dreamed of when they drew up the plans. We ought to make the most of the scene because it is unlikely to be repeated very often – it looks like this is one of just two illegal developments built during the GIL regime that will end up being flattened. The rest promise to remain standing as resilient symbols of 15 years of abuse by local governments that made up the rules as they went along and, in the main, got away with it.
From the tower blocks of Marbella we move across to the Axarquía, worlds apart but with so much in common. There the changes of the last 15 years have been more discreet; a new white dot appeared on the landscape every so often but the horizon was never blotted out by a continuous line of cranes. However in both Marbella and Alcaucín (and clearly in more Town Halls that inevitably will come to light with time) someone was sitting in an office signing pieces of paper that should never have been signed, in exchange (allegedly, as always) for brown envelopes passed under the table.
Last night I saw on the news that there has been a huge auction to sell off construction machinery – cranes, concrete mixers, diggers, lorries, etc. – in Castellón. The images showed row upon row of machines that just a few years ago would have been working away on building sites all over Spain and have now been left redundant. Many of them were expected to be bought by foreigners and shipped off to new climes, leaving behind them the bricks they have helped to lay as a sign of more prosperous, but somewhat unlawful, times.
Filed under: General by Rachel Haynes