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Monday, November 30, 2015

La Alfoquia Junction and Church Invite

The Regional authorities are to improve the road layout around the area between the old Petrol station and the Union Bar. They are to create a new roundabout and change the road layout. II know this will please a number of residents who feel that the current situation is dangerous. These roads are the responsibility of the Junta and so we could not do anything but they have agreed to do this work which should commence in the next month or two.

I have been asked to append this to my next post and so here it is. They are getting very good attendance at their services and it is a great location.

An invitation to everyone to attend services at the Anglican Church at Llanos del Peral during advent.
Our services are held each Sunday at 11 am. Please join us for refreshments after the service.

There is to be a Nativity and Crib Service on Sunday 13 th Dec at 11 am. We would particularly welcome any children on this day. 

The very popular Carol Service is on Tuesday 15 th Dec at 6 pm.   Mulled wine, mince pies or shortbreads will be provided following the service. 

We look forward to seeing you all.

We are also collecting  for the Zurgena food bank. Boxes are placed in Cats services the Town Hall and Suzy's bar and of course the church. We would particularly ask for some Christmas treats this month. Please support this need.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bits & Potholes

Firstly I have been compiling a list of small potholes in anticipation of taking delivery of a lorry load of tarmac which should happen in the next week or so. If you have not already reported one that you know of please drop me a mail I have to have my list complete by Tuesday.

Secondly we are nearly ready to instal another green area between the Pool Bar area and the dual carriageway. We have taken delivery of the plants and they should be planted shortly.

Lastly following the success of the walk we are hoping to hold another Sunday 13th December. I will post when confirmed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Boom and Beds

Firstly to let you now that that massive explosion yesterday afternoon was a sonic boom created by a military plane. At first I thought it was another earthquake but the TH disci¡covered it was a sonic boom. Shook my house!

Secondly a couple of you had asked about car provision for the elderly or infirm in Spain and what, as residents we qualify for. The system here in Spain is similar to the UK as this is provided by their version of Social Services. Twice a week a representative from Social Service calls into the Town Hall to meet for prearranged appointments with people who require some help. This can be anything from a meals on wheels type of support right through the whole range to full residential care. At this  first stage arrangements are made to conduct assessments of the provision required and the financial situation of the applicant. If the applicant meets the appropriate levels (there are 4 grades of decency) then the care is provided appropriate to that grade and finance is set at levels predetermined and dependent on the individuals circumstances. I hope to go visit a one of the care homes for the elderly in the net week or two. There is one in Albox but unfortunately the one which had existed in Vera has closed due to financial problems.

If anyone wishes to be considered for such support then please call into the Town Hall and we will arrange to try and provide as much language support as we can.

Secondly there is a commercial company who we have had for meetings before run by Kim Clark called UK Benefits in Spain which can provide further assistance in ensuring you can get any benefits you may be entitled even though you reside in Spain.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

1,000,000 Step Walk and Walking Football

Today we held the first organised walk in connection with the Junta de Andalucia´s getting fit programme.

42 people (about 50% Spanish and 50% english speaking) braved the coolish temperatures and enjoyed a very pleasant 7.66km circular walk. Supported by two vehicles, one of which carried the essential water and oranges. Energy drinks were also provided at the end of the walk.

The general consensus was that people enjoyed the walk and would like it to be regular event. I will discuss with Lola this week and try and make it a monthly thing. With regard to the million step programme this walk accounted for 13,500 steps so multiplied by 42 = 567,000 steps so we are half way there!

My thanks to Kath Gaskell for helping to organise the expat walkers.

Also in the way of fitness issues Ian Hamilton is to start his weekly session of walking football at the football ground near the pool bar this Tuesday at 1100. Se his poster below. This is ideal exercise for those of us over 55 as you are not allowed run!!

Friday, November 20, 2015


Following our meeting Wednesday evening and discussions today we are hopeful, that the work on the next stage of the motorway from Cucador to the ermita at Palaces, should commence before the end of the year. This will provide a new road for all residents, living to the North of Cucador, with a road which bypasses the old village. It is a shame that it could not have been completed before all the heavy wagons have been using it in connection with the upgrade to the track from Los Llanos to Almajalejo. The next stage though from the remit at Palaces to Ballabona may take some time!!

We have received many suggestions for the Provincial Plan and many reports of minor issues which require attention. I have agreed a new process by which we can manage these issues. I will meet with the councillor for Public Works each Friday and discuss or review each of the outstanding matters and so prioritise the attention needed. Please bear in mind however, that there are some parts of our municipality where we are embargoed from doing anything by the Junta or the courts.

I have and maintain a list of all small (less than a few feet) potholes or damaged road surfaces and areas requiring cleaning which I supply to the TH workers and will be included in the Friday meetings I have with the other councillors.

Some bad news which some of you may have already noticed. We have suffered infestation of the Palm beetle on our magnificent antique palm trees in the Plaza del Olmo with the result that the top of one fell down. We also need to remove one or two of the others and then decide what will be best to replace them with. That decision not yet reached.

We are also working on ideas to increase visitors to the area and are considering a broad range of options as ways of doing this. If you have any suggestions which you think are worth considering please let me know.

We are also looking a new smart phone application (which is already exists just needs amending) for reporting defects etc to the appropriate department. I have seen it in action and it is a great modern day tool for Town Halls.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jose and Meeting

Firstly Jose Manuel is out of hospital. He had an angiogram this morning and got the all clear and will be back in the office tomorrow.

Secondly we had a really interesting meeting last night which lasted for over 4 hours. We discussed many things prior to our future meetings to consider the budgets.

The things discussed included the Police, Cerro Lomo and the Molino, the Tanatorio, and many other suggested projects for the Provincial Plan and our own projects. We have now to consider these and decide which to try and progress. We are still open for further suggestions for consideration.  So if you have any ideas which you consider are worth submitting please let me have them.

Remember we have the walk this Sunday at 10.0am setting off from Zurgena centre. It is only going to be 6 or 7 kms due to the difficulty of the support car being able to access ramblas damaged in the storm. So a nice gentle walk. Not sure how many Spanish taking part but I think there will be a few.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Asking for Trouble

I know this may well cause me some trouble but, we are at the moment preparing applications for consideration in the Plans Provincial for next year and, our councillor for public works, has asked that I feed through to her any issues such as lighting or road repair or surfacing issues.

If you have something which falls into this category please email me for us to try and include it in the applications. There is of course no guarantees but at least if we know and ask then we have at least tried.

Obviously there are a number of issues I am already aware of and I am meeting with various residents over the next few days to examine  others but if you feel your may not not have been included or you wish to remind me then please do.

If you can also forward a photograph together with the location of your suggestion that would help us.

We need to complete our considerations before the end of the month.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jose Manuel

Just an update on Jose Manuel. As some of you know I had to dash him to the hospital about 1120am this morning. He was suffering from chest pains and felt faint. The latest I have is that his checks have so far revealed nothing dangerous but he is being monitored. 

Million Step Walk

The Spanish authorities have launched an initiative to try and get people exercising by walking more and have called it the million step walk.

In support of this initiative the Town Hall of Zurgena has organised a walk this coming Sunday at 10.0am. It will be setting off from outside the Cajamar Bank in Zurgena and should be about 8 to 10 kilometres.

If you wish to join us just let me know and supply your NIE number or just turn up on the day. So lets all get fit!

Update it will leave from the Plaza del Olmo now.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Street Lights Cuesta de los Pinos (Cucador Norte)

For nearly two weeks now the street lights have been out across a large part of the above area. The Town Hall electrician believes he has located the problem and hopes to have them working later today.

We have now compiled a map showing the locations where ramps are needed in La Alfoquia. These are needed to allow wheelchairs and prams access to the pavements around La Alfoquia village. We do not have a budget for this so the Town Hall staff will do them bit by bit.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Calle Finlandia Avenida Europa & others

Today we had a meeting with one of our ex pat residents (Alan Marshall) who is a qualified road/bridge engineer.

I had asked him to meet with the Councillor for Public Works and the architect to explain his views on remedies to the road collapses on Agenda Europa, Calle Finlandia, Ireland, Escocia and others.

The meeting was informed that, as usual the regional authorities ask for our quotes, following such storms, very quickly and we have insufficient time to get a proper quote, thereby, each time, leaving us to make requests for financial support based on incomplete information.

However, we were meeting to find a way forward and with Alans´ assistance have identified proper ways to remedy the insecure roads. We will now be obtaining surveys and quotes with a view to applying for the financial support to implement these plans, which I would guess could be during 2016. That is what we will be aiming for. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Police, Jazz in the Park, Andres and Storm Repair Funding

For the information of all the Polizia Local can be contacted when they are on duty using the following number 664 395 513. As there are only 4 there cannot be 24x7 coverage and in the event of emergencies the 112 number should always be used. They can also be contacted by email at

Jazz in the Park at the chirinquito bar in Gines Parra Park at the bottom of Zurgena just above the rambla.

For information Andres is off work for the next two weeks as he is using up his holidays.

Our secretary and Architect have today gone down to Almeria with papers prepared to request funding to assist with repairs to the storm damaged areas. Hope we get a quick and favourable response.


Monday, November 9, 2015

PGOU, 1st Run of Bus Service and Medieval Market

Please find below a sequence of events relative to our work on the PGOU since April 2014.
  1. 28th April 2014 Plenary session of the Council opened the administrative procedure for public consultation of the plan and to seek any objections or requests from any organisations or administrative entities or any affected public interest.
  2. 29th April 2014 Communication of the plan to surrounding Town Halls in order that they may make any representations or requirements known.
  3. 6th May until 6th June 2014 Period of public examination or comment on the plans. During this period 79 allegations were presented to the Town Hall.
  4. Between 30th July and 14th October 2014 proposed resolutions to the allegations or amendments were signed by the editing architect of the PGOU Mr Francisco Salvador Granados and incorporated into the plan.
  5. The modifications to the plan as above were not substantial since and according to jurisprudence these allegations/representations would not substantially alter the overall, model of the plan.
  6. 21st October 2014 Plenary session of the council was held to resolve these matters and provisionally approve the document of the PGOU of the municipality.
  7. 16th December 2014 Binding sectoral (departmental) reports were requested from the Junta and the following were received on the dates shown 15th December area of fomentation from the Deputation. 6th April 2015 General Director Telecommunications and technology, 24th March Delegation of Culture Junta de Andalucia, 24th March Delegate of environment (water) Junta de Andalusia, 25th March <Report from the Territorial Delegation of environment Junta da Andalucia.
  8. 17th February 2015 an extraordinary Plenary meeting of the council was held to approve the an appendix to the plan incorporating the above (7) reports and the content of the appendix and modifications to the document again did not substantially alter the model of the plan or the public interest which is protected by the delegations etc who submitted their reports.
  9. After the approval of the document (the appendix referred to in 8 above) no new sectorial reports were requested by the Junta as no new modifications were introduced which could impact the structural ordinance nor the public interest.
  10. Following the submission of the approval of this appendix an unfavourable report was received from the the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente regarding water issues and this was forwarded to the editing team for corrections.
  11. 23rd October 2015 the document appendix 2 of the memorandum of the PGOU for Zurgena was received to address these issues. Drafted by the architect D Francisco Salvador for its incorporation to the file and remittal back to the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente y Ordinacion del Territorio (Council of the environment and ordination of the territory). The content of the appendix and the modifications carried out again do not substantially affect the decisions within the structural ordination but they do alter the protected interests of the public by the administrative entities and organisations which issued the reports and therefore the request of the reports from those organisations which could be affected is considered necessary
  12. 30th October 2015 the appendix 2 is provisionally approved and sent on the same day to the delegation of the environment and ordinance of the territory for its approval.
These are the bureaucratic steps that have been taken over the past year and a half. To summarise, the plans have been going through these processes for a long time but eventually it came down to about 18 objections based of water issues e.g. location of waste pipe or supply pipes. We have proposed (after discussions with our technical architect Francisco Salvador Granados) that each of these water points should be considered as favourable but conditional. Meaning that although we accept the points we are proposing ways that we can address these points. By doing it this way we hope to shorten the time necessary for the acceptance of the general plan. We now can only sit and wait for their response which has to be within 5 months of the submission date (that was why we were frantically meeting before the end of October). We

hope and expect the Junta to accept our plan in this format as it is how other areas have progressed their plans. As you can see from the above steps we have complied with and resubmitted our plans as quickly as possible at each stage of this latest series of requests. We now can only hope that no further objections or issues are raised (we do not think there can be) and that it is passed to the commission at the earliest opportunity. We will continue to press for that to be the case.

We ran the new bus service last Friday round the villages and into Zurgena and then today up to the market at Huercal Overa. Only 6 passengers last Friday but that included 3 elderly Spanish ladies from Palaces.Today I felt the timings were better and I am hopeful that more will make use of it otherwise we will have to discontinue it, which would be a shame as so many had previously intimated that they wanted such a service.

The annual Medieval Market will again be held in the Plaza del Olmo in Zurgena Pueblo on the 13th, 14th and 15th November. Pop along and enjoy the artisan crafts and the atmosphere is the old village square. Oh and spend some money.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Storm Damage Repairs

We have, as you could probably guess, many street and accesses that require attention following the downpour last weekend. The Town Hall staff (me included) have been attending these situations to compile a list and a plan to remedy the issues. These include applying for grants where necessary to enable us to make the repairs including more substantial ones where necessary.

We will work our way through this list, which includes individual properties, as well as streets, which have suffered damage or inundations but please be patient.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bus Service

Just to remind everyone of the commencement of the new Bus Services to Zurgena market (Friday) and Huercal Overa Market (Mondays).  The times and bus stops are as per the blog post of 27th October with the addition of one in Barrio de Chicago 0935 Fridays and 0940 Mondays.

I hope that enough people will use it. I myself will be riding on both buses and will speak with any and all passengers to get an idea for future plans. Use it for convenience or as a social event.

I had a meeting with the owner of Piki autobuses this morning to look at establishing a more regular (daily) bus service to and from Huercal Overa. We have agreed that, should there be sufficient interest, the TH will underwrite such a service. I personally think it could be a great benefit to residents and will be hoping for good support. If you believe that you would benefit from or use such a service please let me know. We are trying to formulate budgets for next year and this is one area I would like the TH to support but only there is a desire or need for it.

I will be posting an official update regarding all our recent work regarding the PGOU and where we are with this in the next day or two. I am just awaiting official clearance and final translations of a couple of documents to ensure accuracy.