Councillor Fanny Serrano has an unfortunate name for her current position as
councillor for planning. In the Spanish press much has been made of the
resemblance of her surname ‘Serrano’ to ‘cerrado’ which means ‘closed’.
Councillor Serrano has got a reputation during her two years in office for
closing a number of public buildings and bars, restaurants and clubs.
The latest closures have been three beach bars in Punta Prima, an action that
has been noted by many people who enjoyed using the facilities during the
summer season. The question they have raised is – why now?
The majority of the premises being closed never had an opening licence in the
first place. Before any building is open to the public for trading, it must have
been checked and approved for use for a specified purpose. However, a
number of buildings in Torrevieja do not appear to have had this piece of
paper work in place but have been continuing to trade for a number of years.
Two of the beach bars that were recently closed had been trading since 2012
and one of them since 2007. They had also been paying to use a terraced
area without a closure order being put into place. For those who have enjoyed
the use of these facilities it now seems absurd to say that they must close
when they are part of the local landscape.
However, the opening licences are there for a reason. The council do make
money out of them and they are not cheap, but they are also a way of
checking that the correct facilities are in place and that the premises are fit to
use. Questions are now being asked about why so many buildings and
businesses have been allowed to continue to provide services for the public
There are allegations that people in office did know that licences were missing
but turned a blind eye to this. It is also argued that with the number of
businesses operating in a town like Torrevieja, it is very difficult to keep a
check on what’s on the right side of the law and what isn’t.
To keep regular checks on all the catering and business premises would
require a large administration backed up by police officers with the time to do
it. Without these it is difficult for the town to have systematic inspection in
Perhaps what upsets people most about this subject is that some places are
still ‘getting away with it’ whist others are not. The beach bar owners are one
example of people who feel that one law is being applied to them but not to
others. What is more likely is that the town hall simply hasn’t got round to
checking up on everyone and, given the size of the task, are unlikely to do so
any time soon.
In the meantime, the question might be asked – what should be done? Should
we continue to turn a blind eye and circumvent requirements or enforce them
Perhaps what most people would like to see is a middle ground between the
two that allows businesses time to bring themselves into line without
necessarily imposing the hefty fines that can result. However, where laws are
in statute it can be difficult to apply ‘special considerations’ without breaking
In the meantime, the beach bars will be missed and those who usually
frequent them would perhaps have preferred that the town hall had targeted
somewhere else. Now, we wait with interest to see what Councillor Serrano
will close next.
It is a huge responsibility being a lifeguard on the beaches of Torrevieja in the
summer. Every year there are fatalities and anyone who has watched them
supervising bathers and swimmers must wonder what would happen if they
had a call out.
Those out on the beach of Los Náufragos on the 12 th July had a chance to
see. The councillor for beaches, Javier Manzanares, went to Los Náufragos
beach to watch the second simulation of the lifeguard service. The rehearsal
was intended to check the efficiency of the procedure to be put into place if a
bather needs rescuing.
The lifeguards were called to attend to someone who had suffered a heart
attack whilst in the water, 100 metres from the shore where the rocks are.
This presented as a difficult area to access for the lifeguards and was chosen
to test their ability to retrieve a person. The person was placed on a jet ski
with a built-in stretcher and taken back to the beach.
On arrival back at shore, the lifeguards had to perform resuscitation using a
defibrillator until the ambulance arrived and were able to take over. After the
‘victim’ was stabilised he was taken to hospital in the ambulance.
‘Last year was the first year that there was an official contract with a lifeguard
service,’ explained the councillor. ‘The company Unión Temporal de
Empresas are providing this service which can continue until 2022. One of the
stipulations of the contract was that there should be on going training of the
life savers and others who are responsible for bathers’ safety.
It is important that there are rehearsals which allow a very accurate trial of
what would happen if this situation did take place. We want to be sure that we
can guarantee that the fifty people engaged in this service are as prepared as
they can be to provide assistance across our beaches from La Mata to Punta
Beach access for all
Access to the sea for the disabled
Los Náufragos, Los Locos and El Cura beaches will in future have platforms from which the disabled will be able to enter the water. Torrevieja town hall is keen to make its beaches disabled friendly and now has received the go ahead from the Valencian government to install a platform that will extend into the water and enable people using wheelchairs to enter the water. The new structures will be installed in the coming weeks and will remain in place throughout the year.
Councillor for beaches, Javier Manzanares, explained that the footbridges will be positioned next to the lifeguard stations on the three beaches. It is anticipated that the new structures will be ready to use by Easter. It was decided to install them now to prevent any difficulties in the assembly task during the run up to the summer season.
The platforms are not permanent structures and can be dismantled, but it is expected that they can continue to be used for the next four years. They have been tested for strength using heavy vehicles to make sure they will not break when cleaning trucks travel over them. Over the first year the company installing them will help to maintain them and later it is expected that whoever is successful in winning the contract to keep the beaches clean will be responsible for their maintenance too.