Thursday, July 29

The richest city in Spain leaves residents who do not have one at home without a municipal swimming pool


Pozuelo de Alarcón, the richest municipality in Spain, has 6,359 swimming pools for 86,762 inhabitants, according to data from the registry of the Ministry of Finance. Only one is public and it will be closed throughout the summer season. The City Council, of the PP, began some works in the surroundings of the installation, located in the Carlos Ruiz sports center, without anticipating the arrival of summer or the availability of public service for the minority of residents who do not have a private pool. In addition to being at the top in average income among Spanish cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants, Pozuelo also wins in the ranking of inequality. It is the second municipality that invests the least in social services, only behind Alcobendas, according to a study by Fedea.

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The opposition regrets that the corporation led by Susana Pérez-Quislant “governs for a few.” “It is unfortunate that the richest city in Spain forgets a third of its population, which does not have a swimming pool at home. It is not understood that they have so little sensitivity,” replies the socialist councilor Helio Cobaleda, in conversation with elDiario.es. The PSOE urged the local government to seek solutions or facilitate the use of swimming pools in neighboring municipalities. The alternative that the City Council has finally given is to open an indoor pool for free swimming in the El Torreón sports center, according to a local newspaper in the city. The works that affect the swimming pool began in March to build a heated one. Regional councilor David Pérez laid the first stone next to the mayor and both posed with their helmets on for the cameras.

The controversy does not stop there. It has another side, related to a very advantageous concession to a company that has breached the contract signed with the municipal government. The municipality had to have another public swimming pool for three years. In this case, the construction was not carried out by the Government but by a concessionaire linked to the former tenista José López-Maeso to which the City Council gave the management of a sports center of more than 20,000 square meters, recently built, for a fee of 1,000 euros a month.

A tender in the Gürtel years

In exchange for these beneficial conditions, the company Grand Slam SL had the obligation, signed by contract, to provide the Valle de las Cañas facilities with a swimming pool for all residents with a planned expenditure of three million euros. The commitments also included lighting the environment, improving the pavement or setting up a cafeteria with a terrace.

The PSOE has been tracking that concession for 40 years without getting answers from the City Council. The tender was published on August 1, 2008 and only the company that was awarded was presented (until 2049). At the time, Jesús Sepúlveda was in charge of the government, convicted in 2018 for the Gürtel case.

The contract was signed on September 16, 2009, under the mandate of the conservative Gonzalo Aguado. Corruption had already taken Sepúlveda, who resigned in March of that year after being charged with embezzlement of public funds, bribery and prevarication. The town was in full turmoil.

Socialists suspect that the deal with the City Council is generating great benefits for the concessionaire. Basketball Real Madrid was training in those facilities, but the opposition has not been able to confirm, despite the insistent questions to the corporation, if Grand Slam SL was reallocating the courts to the club. elDiario.es has contacted the company without obtaining a response. The Pozuelo de Alarcón City Council has not answered the questions in this medium either.

Pozuelo is the Spanish city with the highest average annual income per inhabitant: 28,326 euros. It is followed by its neighbor Boadilla del Monte, with 21,795, according to the latest data published by the National Institute of Statistics, corresponding to 2018. The purchasing power is also noticeable in the swimming pools. If Spain has an average of four swimming pools per 100 inhabitants, Pozuelo has 7.4, according to data from the General Directorate of Cadastre collected by El País.



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