The days of the luxury resort on the island of Valdecañas, in the Extremaduran reservoir of Valdecañas – known as the ‘Algarrobico Extremadura’ – are numbered. The Supreme Court has just announced that it considers an appeal by Ecologists in Action and that it extends the demolition of this tourist complex to the golf course, the hotel and the houses and not only to the works in progress, as initially established by the extreme judges. The measure affects almost 200 villas, a four-star hotel and a golf course.
The Junta de Extremadura will not have to compensate the company that was going to build a second hotel in Valdecañas with 5.4 million
This complex was built on the island of Valdecañas, in the middle of the swamp, and in a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) with the approval of the Junta de Extremadura with its Project of Regional Interest of 2007. A regulation that was quickly declared illegal by the courts of Extremadura with orders to stop the works, all confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2014. More than a decade later, the same Supreme Court has studied and estimated the last resource of Ecologists in Action on what consequences this illegality should have.
The environmentalists appealed the decision of the Superior Court of Justice of Extremadura that in 2020 authorized the partial demolition of the complex, demanded a plan from the Junta de Extremadura to protect and monitor the environment in the area and allowed the houses, the hotel and the field golf courses already built were kept standing on the understanding that they did not negatively affect the natural environment of Valdecañas. Now the Supreme says otherwise.
The contentious-administrative chamber, as reported in a statement, has upheld an appeal by Ecologists in Action and explains that it annuls the exceptions that the Extremaduran court established for demolitions: “The Supreme Court annuls this point and agrees that they must be demolished as the rest of the works and facilities whose demolition was determined by the order of execution itself, says the Supreme Court about a sentence that will be known in full in the coming days.
This is not the only legal battle that has developed around this luxury tourist complex located in a natural enclave such as the Valdecañas reservoir. A few months ago the same TSJ of Extremadura decided that the regional administration was not obliged to compensate with more than 5 million euros the promoter of a hotel that could not be built in the tourist complex after the annulment of the Project of Regional Interest in 2011 .
The Supreme Court made it clear in 2014 that this PIR was illegal due to the natural enclave in which the houses, hotels and the golf course had been built. “The land where the urban complex has been built is included in the Natura 2000 Network,” the judges reproached then. The European regulations on environmental protection, they added, “clearly establish that when some land is subject to a special sectoral protection regime, its exclusion from urban development and its classification as special protection undeveloped land is mandatory.” The Junta de Extremadura, therefore, never had the right to authorize those constructions that must now be demolished in their entirety.