The pound is at its highest level against the US Dollar since the EU Referendum, breaking GBP/USD 1.39 earlier today (Friday). It has also climbed against the euro, rising 1.2% midweek to 1.1350.
This pound-positive activity is due to a brighter Brexit outlook; both Spain and the Netherlands suggested they would support the UK remaining closely aligned with the EU in terms of trade and Jean-Claude Juncker hinted that Britain could rejoin the EU after Brexit. This new-found optimism had a positive impact on the markets but as we know everything is temporary and there are bound to be more Brexit hurdles very soon.
Now that the summer is effectively over and the weather is beginning to cool, Torrevieja and La Mata shopkeepers are redoubling their efforts to rid the streets of the current proliferation of so-called “manteros” and the “organised groups of illegal street vendors”.
Until a few days ago their presence was mainly confined to the beaches where they sold products ranging from footwear to sports equipment and sun wear, illegal copies of shoes and well-known sports brands, even jewellery, clothes and fruit and veg.
Torrevieja’s president of the Association of Small and Medium-sized Traders (APYMECO), David Sánchez, has been critical of their presence since July, when his organisation issued a statement denouncing the massive presence along promenades and beaches in the illegal sale of products.
He said that Torrevieja City Council “has not done anything about it” to dissuade these people who have now moved their businesses onto the streets, with little police presence to dissuade them from doing so. “The problem is far more serious than the police are giving it credit. It is an endemic problem that is causing serious damage and untold losses to many existing legal businesses, damage that they really cannot afford or sustain.
Sanchez now demands “urgent and drastic measures” from the city council and the police the illegal traders cause seriously damage to the businesses of Torrevieja that cannot be reversed. “My members religiously pay their taxes,” he said, pointing once again that the local administration has failed to provide answers to the formal complaints.
Having already suffered with the economic crisis of recent years, the damage being caused by illegal traders to genuine businesses is, without a doubt, another problem for those shopkeepers who have been able to survive. For all these reasons, the president of APYMECO urges the merchants to report, as many times as is necessary, the presence of these manteros in their areas to ensure that the Local Police are at least out on the streets.
Since 2012, when the Torrevieja City Council first introduced the Operational Reinforcement Group, one of its many tasks has been the control of illegal street vendors and the seizure of counterfeit products in the main tourist areas of the city, especially along the seafront in Juan Aparicio and La Cura beach. The responsibility should also extend to in the beach at La Mata, although there have been hardly any visits of the GRO during the summer season.
Following their clampdown 2 or 3 years ago the GRO now seems to have taken their eye off the problem as a result of which it is once again close to reaching epidemic proportions, another season of which will undoubtedly result in the closure of many more Torrevieja businesses.
The mayor of Torrevieja, Jose Manuel Dolón, has told the Local Police to increase their vigilance in respect of urban cleanliness in the city, particularly regarding the matter of the defection of dogs that is left behind by their owners.
He said that he is a great animal lover himself and there is absolutely nothing wrong with owners taking their dogs for a walk but when they foul the mess must be cleared up and not simply left behind for people to walk in.
Dolon said that articles 15 and 22 of city regulations show that hygiene must be maintained in the city and that the excrement must be removed without fail.
The Local Police imposed just 8 infractions in 2016 but now, after a summer focused on other priority services, he has asked them to enforce municipal regulations and both warn and punish the owners of dogs where this is appropriate.
The mayor also requested members of the public to politely but firmly encourage irresponsible dog owners to clear up after their dog. “However, if you don’t feel that you can approach someone,” he said, “report dog fouling to the local police – particularly if you know who is letting their dog foul regularly.”
In December 2015 the mayor promised that he would clamp down on anyone who didn’t clean up after their dog had defecated in a public place. He promised there would be no mercy and that offenders would be hit with fines of 3000 euros.
The promise came from the Los Verdes leader, whilst he was under increasing pressure from residents to remove all of the ‘Pipican’ and WCcan’ facilities in the town.
The lifesaving and rescue service that man’s Torrevieja’s packed beaches provided assistance on a total of 1,116 occasions during July. Included in those figures is one of cardiorespiratory arrest, in which it was possible to stabilise the affected person, and 56 rescues of bathers from the sea.
Javier Manzanares, the councillor for Beaches, announced the figure on Friday, saying that 406 people were treated for injuries at the various lifeguard posts with a further 406 needing attention for jellyfish stings and 46 for insect stings.
The high temperatures also took their toll on the beaches, with 22 people treated for sunburn and dehydration.
Other interventions include 35 lost persons of which two were children who were playing in the sea without adult supervision
The day on which most interventions took place was on 30 July when there were 66, and those with the least, the 5th and 7th July with 10 interventions on each day.
The councillor said that he was satisfied with the work of the lifeguards adding that “during the month of July there were no fatalities on any of Torrevieja’s beaches.”
More than 10,000 people took part in the annual Amacmec run against breast cancer in Elche on Sunday morning.
The traditional race, which is organised by the Association of Women Affected by Breast Cancer in the city (Amacmec), and now in its thirteenth edition, gathered on the Paseo de la Estación de Elche for the event that it is hoped will raise thousands of euros for cancer treatment and research.
There were two distances for the thousands of participants, over both 5km and 10 km courses. In addition, there were a number of parallel activities, the most popular of which was once again the Zumba demonstration which was provided by Amacmec’s own associates, some of them still receiving chemotherapy treatment.
During the event, many of the participants remembered family members who had passed away from cancer, but there were many more also who had managed to overcome the disease.
Other activities included youth dance groups, encouraged to attend by the beautiful sunny morning.
As the race leaders approached the finish line, the area around the Paseo de la Estación had become a large party in anticipation of their arrival. There was music as well as free refreshments, cocoa, fruit and water, and there were also a number of physiotherapists offering their services to those in need.
The amount raised is still to be determined so at this stage the board of the association has not yet decided how the money will be spent. What is certain, however, is that it will be used for both research against cancer and to finance Amacmec’s activities in the region.
The construction sector has maintained its steady recovery in the province of Alicante and is now growing at an even faster rate. Constructor’s applications to launch new projects have increased in recent months, especially in coastal municipalities, such as Guardamar, Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa and Pilar de la Horadada.
The towns of Torrevieja and Orihuela continue to lead the way with new housing construction, not only in 2017, but also during the last three years. What the data indicates is that the recovery has now been consolidated and is beginning to accelerate. According to experts, 2017 has so far been very productive in the real estate sector. Some of them say that they are likely to achieve the same figures that they did back in 2004.
The most recent study by the company TINSA, on the situation here on the coast, published on 14 June, shows that in our region, the sector is “in a clear recovery”, despite a slow-down with the rate of home purchases by Britons following Brexit which is being offset in part by the increase in purchases by Swedes, Norwegians, Belgians and Russians who are now buying houses in the area in increasing numbers.
The company also states in their report that in the Orihuela Costa “about 120 homes have been reactivated, with new product being built mainly for the holiday market
According to the TINSA report, based on data provided by the Ministry of Public Works, new construction applications in Orihuela Costa in 2015 were 448, while in 2016 they rose to 1,038, an increase of 132%, a Growth much higher than that of Guardamar, with 66%, Torrevieja, with 27%, and Pilar de la Horadada, with an 8% increase in the number of applications for new work.
Faced with this data on the Oriol coast, the there is little new construction activity in Orihuela city and the districts, not only during 2017 but also in recent years. In fact, the licenses granted by the Department of Urbanism are practically all for promotions on the Orihuela Costa, according to the councillor, with new licenses in the city only given and are for minor works, “generally reforms.”
At a press conference held on Monday, Torrevieja’s Councillor for Security, Javier Manzanares, announced that, following the weekend’s Simulated Exercise, the Municipal Plan for Seismic Risks will be updated by the participating experts who were involved in Saturday’s activities.
In making the statement Manzanares appeared alongside a leading expert in Seismic risks, the architect Joaquín Blanco, as well as the administrador de fincas and President of the Association “Torrevieja 1829,” Isidoro Carrillo, a group that remembers the catastrophic eruption that caused so much death and devastation almost ninety years ago
Manzanares said that the amended information would be disseminated through a series of lectures and talks with many different groups, in schools, colleges, homes for the elderly and associations. He confirmed that the Town Council would advise such organisation when the information and dates have been confirmed.
The purpose of the briefings would be to advise members of the public how to act during and after an earthquake, thereby providing knowledge that could save many lives, such as the need to move away from areas with high buildings and to go to areas of wastelands as well as the location of necessary medical facilities and the requirement to take, and to provide information for, a census.
The Guardia Civil and Torrevieja council have warned that there are licensing deficiencies with the activities that are authorised to take place in a Punta Prima nightclub that is currently operating with just a motel license and as such they have written to the Generalitat requesting that it be closed down.
The disclosure comes after an inspection carried out by agents of the Civil Guard, during which they detected numerous security deficiencies in the building, which is located on the N-332 on the edge of the Urbanisation Los Barcos. According to information provided by the establishment itself, In addition to the guest bedrooms, the venue has outdoor parking and a bar-disco area that hosts erotic shows.
After receiving the report from the Civil Guard, municipal authorities upheld the findings including the absence of minimum security measures necessary to carry out the activities that take place in the facility. The services that are available within the establishment are not authorised by the terms and conditions of the license that was granted at the time of opening, for a business that was launched exclusively as a motel.
In Spain it is common for businesses that operate as nightclubs to be legally covered under the terms and conditions of a hotel, hostel or, as is the case here, a motel, as the rooms are intended for clients to rest. This allows the premises not to be subject to opening and closing times.
However it is the Generalitat Valenciana that must attend and ratify these licenses following a visit during which they must inspect the facilities and confirm their suitability for purpose.
The building in question is reasonably isolated from the adjacent urbanisation and although there appear to be no complaints from neighbouring residents, it seems unusual that the establishment was visited by the Guardia, as such inspections are usually carried out by the Autonomous Police
It is one of the most frequented places in Torrevieja. Every day hundreds of travellers pass through the bus station using it as a starting, finishing or transit point for their journeys. And judging from a report issued recently by The Prosecutors Office, it is also one of the most neglected.
For many people this is the first sight they get of Torrevieja, a run-down area that is frequented by drug dealers, down and outs and criminals, not the impression that politicians want to portray.
Many health and safety aspects relating to the bus station are completely unacceptable. The side accesses to the site sees a regular flow of traffic intermingled with pedestrians. At the main entrance to the station, access is also a lottery, where the only transit space is occupied by tables and chairs from the cafeteria.
Information is non-existent as are announcements over the public address system. Travellers have to rely on the ticket office where, if there is a queue, finding anything out can be impossible.
The shortcomings for people with disabilities are colossal. Public services are completely inaccessible to people with disabilities, both by the width of the doors and by the steps that also prevent access. If you are brave enough to use the toilet facilities you will quickly find just how bad and how unsanitary they are.
In terms of security, the problems are even more alarming. There is a lack of surveillance and security personnel. The consumption of alcohol in areas of heavy traffic is not only habitual but is also encouraged by the sale of alcoholic beverages from a shop that is directly connected to the site.
There are broken locks on the toilet door which serve as a warning of a hostile and undesirable place that it is, where drug addicts regularly gather to make their fix, or adults unashamedly have sexual relations. The graffiti on the walls and the doors is disgusting, especially for any children find it necessary to use the services.
And all this goes on, and has done for years and years, just 50 yards away, and in clear sight of the barracks of the Guardia Civil and the Torrevieja Courts of Justice.
The complaints, which were presented on 8th November, and which were documented in detail with photographs and a video, have already resulted in improved signage and security for users. The signs now warn of the danger of pickpockets, they also prohibit the consumption of alcohol and warn of the “extreme danger” for pedestrian who choose to move around in areas that are designated for use by the buses. There is also video surveillance we are told, but information suggests that the system is not operational.
Many people say that the report is long overdue. The bus station has always been a dangerous centre with many illicit and unsavoury activities regularly taking place. As the gateway to Torrevieja, the station, it’s facilities and its procedures are badly in need of a complete overhaul if people are to feel safe and be encouraged to use the services once again.
Simon Manley, British Ambassador to Spain, visited Alicante this week to speak at an event about the progress of Brexit negotiations and the future relationship between the UK and Spain.
The event, organised in conjunction with British citizens in Spain group Brexpats and the Diputacion de Alicante was held at the University of Elche. The main topic discussed was the subject of citizens’ rights and how that is one of the top priorities for the British Government in the negotiations with the EU. Members of Brexpats group had a chance to ask questions to Ambassador Simon Manley and Consul Sarah-Jane Morris.
British Ambassador meets British citizens in Elche to talk about BREXIT
British Ambassador meets British citizens in Elche to talk about BREXIT
HMA’s agenda in Alicante also included visits to King’s College in Alicante and King’s Infant School in Elche, both British schools; a visit to Babcock MSC, the British company that provides of aerial emergency services and aircraft maintenance in Mutxamel, and a meeting with local authorities in Calpe town hall.
Talking about the importance of citizen rights, Simon Manley said: “Good progress has already been made in the negotiations and we are within touching distance of a deal in citizens rights. My team of consular staff and I have been speaking face to face with British citizens across Spain, including yesterday in Alicante, to ensure that the concerns they raise around healthcare, pensions and residency rights are understood by the UK negotiating team and reflected in their discussions with our EU partners about our departure from the EU.
I would like to recommend that people living in the Alicante region to follow our social media channels for updates on progress in the negotiation, including our Brits in Spain Facebook page, and to sign up for alerts from the gov.uk page to ensure you are getting accurate information.”
Advice for UK citizens living in the EU can be found here: