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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday 31st March

The PGOU is ready and we are now just discussing how best to release it. There is a consideration that we might be better presenting it in two formats Spanish and English to explain what it all means and how it was arrived at but no final decision has been reached yet.

Was unable to resolve the query regarding continued use of the Gym in Zurgena yet but will try again.

The Llanos del Peral hall has been booked for a function for later next month.

For information the following two events are taking place locally

1. The rambla motor racing (motor bikes, quads, 4 wheel drives) is over the weekend 9th/10th April. There will be a special stage in the rambla in front of Zurrgena on Sunday 10th. It has been good spectator sport in the past.

2. There is a trip for the elderly to Archena thermal baths on 24th April if anyone is interested in joining this, predominantly Spanish, trip they need to call into the T.H. and inform Isa.

Monday, March 28, 2011

More Meetings

Last Saturday at 6.0pm we met as a political party (3rd time) to get closer to finalising our list of candidates for the election. We firmed up numbers 1 - 8 but we need to speak to a couple of younger members to see if they will stand and help us attract the younger vote. We are to get together on Monday evening to finalise the list, agree the slogan and have a photograph taken to incorporate in our publicity.

We had a total of just over 200 responses to the survey which was very good, as it represented the feelings of nearly 400 residents. It was not surprising that property issues and health were at the heart of most responses. Whilst the property issue is being addressed through both the courts and the PGOU it is not really an item for the manifesto, as there is no more that we, or any party, can do to progress this issue faster or better than we currently are. The other issues which featured near the top of most peoples lists Medical issues, tidying of the areas, tarmac roads, etc. I cannot import the documents into the blog but if anyone wishes sight of the full summary just drop me an email. It will certainly help me when we compile our manifesto in the next few weeks. So thanks for all your responses.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday 25th March

We had arranged to meet together this morning to discuss a number of issues. Most of these issues were concerning the run up to the elections and a general discussion about issues which may come to the fore. Both Mike and I were briefed on the lists of the two main opposition parties and asked our thoughts on them. We also have agreed to finally conclude our own list tomorrow evening probably about 7.0pm due to some of the councillors being away until later in the day. We should be able to publish that list before Monday.

Apparently the election run in kicks off properly on Monday when various documents come out from the Censors office and this signals the start of electioneering. if it is anything like last time the next few months are going to be very hectic.

I asked if Candido or Francisco had any thought on the timing of the Llanos Del Peral Fiesta as most of the residents I had spoken to did not really want one in February (the local saints day). After looking at the calendar and taking into account the other villages fiesta it was thought that Saturday 14th May would be a good day for it. We have yet to confirm it but it looks likely that this will be the day for the fiesta. I was also told that this particular fiesta used to be held in the traditional manner whereby the Town Hall provided the basic ingredients and the individual village families would cook up there stew to share out. Additionally for those who did not have big families within the village the T.H. would provide a big pan or two. We will see nearer the time what options are available.

The work has commenced (Wednesday) on the bowling green in La Alfoquia. It is to be of artificial grass. I had hoped to be able to involve some local bowlers with the contractors before they got started but there was insufficient time (as usual). I believe Ray Wolverson (from la Alfoquia) who is a bowler assisted with the contractors.

Following a request from some of the residents of Jardines del Almanzora I understand that the cleaning machine has started to regularly cover that area again following its lengthy period out of action.

I have managed to provide feedback to most of those who asked me to check their expediente references with the court lists but if anyone has not yet received a reply please recontact me. There is a new link at the top of this page.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Busy Busy

I had a few appointments at my surgery this morning and following these I grabbed a few minutes with Candido.

Firstly I handed copies in Spanish of all the totals for the survey and the resumes of the contents. Whilst we were going through these and I explained the points he mentioned a number of the points which are already in progress eg the green routes as there is a National pathway being agreed which Zurgena is a part of and will be inaugurating on the 1st May. This will link up with other pathways which various local municipalities are opening between 3rd April and 5th June. Further notice will be given about this nearer the time.

He also added that after we had talked he wanted me to accompany himself and a contractor to look at the possible sites for a mini golf site between Cucador and Llanos del Peral. This was an item in has last manifesto. He wanted it in another location from the two main centres as it was felt this was only fair.

I am also aware that he had the contractors who are to build the bowling green out yesterday but he gave me insufficient time to organise a local expert to attend. He did however manage to get someone from La Alfoquia who professed to be knowledgable about such matters.

I asked about what the situation was regarding the Secretary ( I had been informed that he was now off sick and likely to be for some time). Candido said that he had asked Isa to stand in again but that she was reluctant however, he was optimistic he could persuade her later today to do so. I certainly hope so as we need an official secretary to arrange some meetings etc.

We left the Town Hall and as we did so I drove but continued to ask questions on route but these were particular questions raised from my appointments earlier in the morning. We looked at 3 sites for the mini golf, all on Cuesta de los Pinos. The decision we reached was that the best place would be to the west of the bar restaurant as this was away from houses but still overlooked by the bar. The land was not Anthonios which was a small problem but Candido spoke to the owner and it seems he is agreeable to letting us have the land (only about 2,000sq ms) for nothing.

I have to meet in the Town Hall with Mike Foulkes and Candido again in the morning as we have to start work on planning for the elections. I will post the survey results when I can.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Survey Complete

Well that was more work than I thought!

My wife (bless her) has spent the past two days helping me input all the data from the survey so that I now have the full results. Some of it is quite interesting, other bits were as we would have expected. It will help me in the way I wanted it to, and that is to assist me, when having discussions with the rest of the Party, about the manifesto.

I will post the fuller picture when I have fine tuned it (and converted it to Word as I am working on a Mac) but just so that people have an idea we distributed (with the help of Mike Foulkes) a total of over 300 forms. In response we received a total of 199 completed forms. This represented a total of 384 people. So I think it is quite a representative survey.

The demographics are pretty much what I would have expected but the preferences were a wee bit different.

Anyway I will get back to playing with these documents and hopefully post the fuller picture in the next day or so.

Thanks to all those who completed the forms or sent electronic copies.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Strike Off

It would appear that the Spanish air traffic strike, planned for later this year, has been called off. Hopefully it will stay that way. See the below link.

Just returned from a nice 5 day trip around Avila, Toledo, Salamanca and Segovia all very worthwhile visiting. So will get back to normal this week. My wife is going to assist me me in creating a database of the responses to the survey. I have not totalled the responses yet but it does look like we have a very high response rate, so thank you for that. I will publish the results once I get them all analysed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Trying to contact Kampschulte Los Carasoles

Does anyone know Anne Maria Kampschulte believed living in Los Carasoles. I am trying to contact her regarding her censor form at the Town Hall.

Thanks to Hans Meier who forwarded me this ladies email.

Spanish Lessons Llanos del Peral

He is the first opportunity presented by the new village hall in Llanos del Peral.

Some of you may remember Andrea Diolosa, who held Spanish lessons in her home some years ago. She has now got permission to use the classroom part of the village hall for Spanish lessons and is to hold them twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays 1230 to 1.30pm or 1.30 to 2.30pm. She intends starting the lessons on the week of 21st March for beginners and conversation level.

If you are interested please contact via email at or Mobile 6908282520.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Llanos del Peral

Today was the mini fiesta to inaugurate the little church/village hall in Los Llanos del Peral.

The event was very well attended by both the Spanish and the ExPat communities and, from the feedback I received, it was an excellent afternoon. I must say that the 'special' wine which Francisco's father had made from his locally produced grapes with added honey (and must have been about 20 degs proof) was a lovely drink. Glad I only had a couple otherwise I could not have driven home. The tapas were very good also with a good high grade ham and tasty cheese on offer together with other things.

Candido asked me to stress, during the inauguration, how he hoped that both communities would use the facility. During the afternoon, and as a result of approaches from various residents, it struck me that it would be a good idea to form some sort of village social committee. NOT a residents association with rules etc but just a group of villagers who could represent the village and come up with ideas to use this facility. We have already had suggestions of a street party for the Royal Wedding and we are to try and resurrect the annual fiesta in honour of the local saint. In trying to further this idea I am asking that a) villagers from Los Llanos who think this is an idea worth pursuing to email me and b) those who are willing to assist in organising and planning any future events to also contact me. We have a volunteer in the village who is willing to get it off the ground in Daphne from Calle Abderamman. Once I have these responses I will decide how best to take it forward.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lengthy Meeting

I had a very open, interesting and lengthy meeting with Candido, Jose and Francisco this morning.

Firstly I raised the issue of the gun club and the constant noise at weekends of which I have received a number of complaints. Some of you will remember that some 2 years ago we submitted a petition to the TownHall and subsequently the club owners shut down. We then heard some months ago that they had opened at Overa but, as we now know, the club is operating from the original site, which is what is giving rise to the complaints. Candiod confirmed that no permission has been granted from the Town Hall. They are aware that a number of Spanish people have lodged denuncias in Huercal Overa against this club. As it is not licensed then the suggestion from the Town Hall is that a report is made to Guardia Civil when people are in attendance. I am informed that the G.C. are aware of the activity and will act on complaints.

The area of the old football pitch at the side of the road between Palaces and Zurgena is NOT a garden refuse dumping site. The site has an amount of vegetation refuse put there by the Town Hall (for a purpose) which will be burnt off soon. Residents who have garden refuse are advised that they should ask for a license to burn it. It costs nothing and can be done at this time of year. The nearest refuse site for such waste is Albox. There is a battery disposal box within the Town Hall. The other issues of recycling will be dealt with later.

Street lighting at various locations still not switched on. There is little more the Town Hall can do all the boletins have been submitted to Sevillana Endesa and we can only await their attention.

I questioned why people were no longer allowed to use the Sports hall in Zurgena for keep fit. Candido said he had already been upset by reports that were reaching his ears about what people were saying about this. For the record he said, the sports hall had to be closed to the public as a new floor was to be fitted and a basketball court and other things installed. For that reason the keep fit class had to be moved. It has been moved but is still continuing as it was before only at the old Town Hall rather than the unavailable Sports hall. He then highlighted the timetable for the new gymnasium which showed that the instructor was not there from 11.0am until 12noon which he confirmed was when the keep fit class exists in Zurgena.

I asked if there was anything we could do about the mass of rubbish on the hillside as you approach Zurgena as this was the most outstanding point in questionnaires I had so far received back. He gave me a full explanation of what had been done over the years, things such as cleaning and planting but that the occupants of the houses overlooking this area had destroyed the plants. The problem was further complicated by the fact that the land is actually owned and supposedly maintained by the Junta!

On behalf of some of the residents of the Aurora houses I passed on their appreciation of the tidying up that had taken place and asked if we were going to put down gravel and/or membrane. He said that they only had funds sufficient to do the central area but that the others would be maintained and cleaned until later this year when they would also be more permanently embellished.

I had been asked to enquire about what surface the new bowling green was going to have. He replied that the contractors have been appointed but a final decision on the surface has yet to be reached. He had been in touch with the only company which provide the specific surface required by top quality greens, however for the area of our bowling green 1.600 sq meters the cost of, in excess of 100 euros per sq metre, was prohibitive. I asked if, when it came to deciding the surface to be installed, whether I could bring along some local players to help us decide and he agreed. So the contractors will do everything up to the laying of the surface and we will then decide what is best within the price we can afford.

I asked about what the wording had been from the High Court ruling on the Prodelor houses and he confirmed that the basis for the Judge throwing the case out was that the Junta had waited far too long to bring the action. Bearing in mind that the only action the Junta was seeking from the courts was that they direct the Town Hall to review the grant of the original licences. A course no court has yet directed.

We then had a very lengthy conversation about the meeting which was held yesterday with the Josefina Cruz from the Junta and 10 of the valleys municipalities. Within that discussion Ms Cruz stated that 12000 houses were illegal in the Almanzora valley made up of 534 built on special protected land which would have to be demolished (we maintain we have none that meet that criteria), 386 of less than 4 years old (again apart from 2 we maintain we have none that meet that criteria)and 11,000 which it would be possible to legalise by a special regulation. The problem with this last idea being that such a regulation would not allow a full Licence of 1st Occupation and therefore precluded from accessing normal services. This is NOT the case for Zurgena as we have the licences which mean we would not be seeking to legalise property as we maintain all properties are legal and the only thing stopping us from issuing the last of the licences was the Juntas actions.
Apparently after this bit she said that she would not tolerate people coming from other countries in Europe to build houses on cheap land whilst local people had to pay to build on urban and more expensive land.
Candido said he thought that when the various bodies acting for expats heard the content of her statement they may want to organise more demonstrations against the Junta. After Ms Cruz made this statement she then left (despite how the PSOE controlled press have shown that she had a conversation with our Mayor after the meeting when she wasn't even there). After Ms Cruz's presentation the Director of the Tecnicos in Almeria took the stage and enlarged upon what she had said.
Candido and the other Mayors were all given various paperwork, which we have not yet had time to thoroughly examine, but, at first glance, seem to more false, duplicitous and contrived documents. Closer examination needs to be made of these papers but I can certainly attest to the fact that they make no sense.
Candido asked that I convey his feelings to the expat community that there was nothing said yesterday that changes our position, or our feeling, that our properties are legal and safe and that the reports in the Spanish press contain blatantly false statements.

I asked when we could present the PGOU to Pleno and thence to the general public. Candido said that yesterday had meant a slight delay but that both he and Luiz, our Architect, were going to Almeria next Tuesday to include some detail and should present it before the end of the month. He apologised for the short delay but assured me that it was being completed expeditiously.

This is a rather lengthy update but I have greatly precise d the detail. If anyone wishes further clarification please contact me through the usual means. I have to be a little more circumspect in what I put on here as, I have recently discovered that various, opposing political parties are monitoring it and using the contents for political ends eg opposition politicians were aware of our provisional list before some of the people on it!!

Bit of good news the new bar restaurant at Cuesta de los Pinos (La Vida) opened tonight. It is intended to be open 12 noon until 12 midnight and as time passes may open earlier in the day. They are still looking for a good chef. So if you know of one put them in touch. They have done a good job of making the premises look much nicer and a bit more Spanish with a boars head and large mirror. Lets hope it is a success.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Air Strikes for Info

As I imagine many of you are arranging, or have family and friends arranging, flights at this time of year, I thought I would post the dates, which currently are anticipated to be affected by the Spanish Airport Workers strikes. It has already affected some of my family arrangements.

April Strike Dates – 20th, 21st, 24th, 25th and 30th
May Strike Dates – 2nd, 14th, 15th, 19th and 20th
June Strike Dates – 13th, 23rd and 30th
July Strike Dates – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 15th and 31st
August Strike Dates – 1st, 15th and 31st.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Change of Mind

Change of mind. I was originally going to run a page on Facebook up to the election but I have changed my mind. After much playing about with it I do not think it will give me anything more than I have through this blog and may actually complicate things. Also we are not allowed to do any overt electioneering until a certain date so that also minimises the worth.

The survey is going well. So far I have covered Llanos del Peral, Los Menchones, Cucador, Cuesta de los Pinos, Palaces and a small bit of Los Carasoles. I will probably get the remainder of Carasoles done tomorrow and Mike Foulkes has agreed to help me with La Alfoquia (thanks to those who have assisted me so far). If you are in any of the areas mentioned and you have not received a form and would like one just let me know.

One bit of information, regarding the Pensionista Card. Someone asked me if it was means tested. I asked and have been informed that there are 2 cards a green and a gold. The green card is available to everyone of pension age. The gold which has more benefits si means tested but I do not know the limits. That can be discovered when you speak to the lady who manages this scheme. She attends twice a week at the Town Hall but appointments have to be made in advance.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

3rd List Meeting

Tonight we held the 3rd meeting to try and agree a list for the elections. Candido really does believe in the democratic process of selecting the list even if it takes a long time!
Tonight we moved it forward a bit more by firstly allowing each party member time to speak and then all submitting a list of the top 8/9 positions, in order, which we each individually thought, would be most appreciated by the electorate of the municipality.

At the conclusion of that Candido totalled the votes for each position and formed a provisional list for opening to the general public and await their feedback as to whether it was a good list or not.

In this provisional list we could, if we get the same amount of votes as last time, have two British councillors as Mike Foulkes was put into the list in position 8 and I was suggested at number 5. The other positions were

Candido 1, Salvadore 2, Francisco 3, Noelia 4, Me 5, Juanmi 6, Maria 7, Mike 8, Jose 9 and Manolo 10.


My wife and I enjoyed an amateur dramatic production, by the Companeros del Teatro from Huercal Overa, at the lovely little theatre in Zurgena, of two comedic plays.
I was surprised that there were quite a few empty seats for quite a good evenings entertainment. There are some seats left for tonights performance which starts at 7.30pm. I believe tickets are still on sale (5 euros!)at the usual outlets and if you fancy a evening with a difference give it a go.
The theatre is up the side road in the top left corner of the square in Zurgena.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Survey Forms

Just to let you know that I have started to circulate the survey forms. Looks like I have picked a good time to start as the weather forecast for the next few days is not very good for walking about!

I would be grateful if you would complete the forms and return to me by the end of the week commencing 14th March. I am attaching envelopes for that purpose. They can be dropped off for me in the office in T.H. in Zurgena or at my home.

If you have not received a form by 10th March or are not here at the moment and want to complete one please email me for an electronic copy. As I said I am trying to keep those to a minimum to save my ink!

Remember this is your chance to help formulate part of the manifesto for the (Partido Andalucista) and therefore form part of the programme for the next 4 years.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 2nd

Discussed number of things this morning.

1. The WiFi problem over the past couple of days was caused by one of the 3 lines we pay for going down. This was repaired this morning and should now be running fine. If people have problems in future they can either call into the Town Hall or email me, as Candido is taking it on board to try and resolve issues as they arise.

2. Connection and switching on of the lights for Los Menchones and Cuesta de los Pinos. The boletins have been received and only need activating by Endesa we are to send someone to the agency office in Huercal Overa tomorrow to see if they can help get it activated in the next week or so. I did say that we had been waiting on these lights being activated since before the start of winter and now we are nearly at the start of summer!

3. Los Llanos del Peral. I had received a report that a pile of flagstones which it was thought were awaiting use outside the church had disappeared and people wondered what had happened. It transpires that these stones were taken away by the council as they were needed for a project in La Alfoquia. Candido did say he thought he had made a political mistake in how he handles that work. it was originally intended merely to do up the church but whilst they were there he asked them to carry on and started to pave the area around, although they had no budget for it. In the meantime the flags were needed elsewhere but it is still intended to do the rest of the paving around there later in the year.

4. Bowling Green and Palaces tarmac and lights. Whilst I was there Candido rang the man in charge of the contracts for these works and was promised that the work on these projects would be starting in the next week or two.

5. I asked a few questions that had been asked of me at the opening of the Gym. The following were the answers, firstly prices will be the cheapest in Almeria and have yet to be finalised as there will be a family ticket and we are looking at how to do a visitors day ticket, the staff, who are employed there, are knowledgeable and have worked in gymnasiums for over 10 years and therefore are au fait with the equipment and how to use it, thirdly the Town Hall has Public liability for all its premises, and lastly the equipment has not been fixed to the floor as that is how it is intended to be used and the final position may be different to where it is now. Additionally a walking exerciser is being delivered today.

6. I provided the secretary with a list of 6 expediente numbers for those who had asked me to check them out following last weeks meeting. Answers should be back in a week.

7. We have sufficient for 3 resaltos (sleeping policemen) in the area before the summer. We are looking at the best areas and think two could go near the pool bar/gym area and one by the White Horse but I will canvas the residents of these areas before we proceed to install them.

8. There exists a company in Cantoria called Proder and this company obtains funds from charities and central government which it then distributes to local authorities for use in the provision of small leisure projects. It is intended by Zurgena to install a small mini (crazy) golf course with our bit of money.

9. We have not yet received the censor list of names for the elections. I have got the go ahead for the survey and I just need to buy the envelopes which I will do tomorrow and then start circulating them. I am also to be provided with a copy of the Padron which I will try and update as I go around. Once I have distributed the majority of the paper copies aI will put one on the internet for anyone who has not received a copy but wants to take part.