Algarve’s “demolition man” targets clinker-built charm of Monte Clérigo

With the fate of Ria Formosa islanders still ‘up in the air’, the Algarve’s notorious “demolition man” is reported to have set his sights now on new homes to flatten – this time in the unspoilt bay of Monte Clérigo, in the western borough of Aljezur.

Anyone who has ever visited this holiday haven will have fantasised about owning any one of Monte Clérigo’s clinker-built beachside homes.

They have been in local hands for more than 80 years, passing down through families.

But the Algarve environmental agency – headed by Sebastião Teixeira whose focus for years has been to demolish hundreds of homes within fishing communities of Ria Formosa – has concluded that they are illegal.

The new POC (or coastal ‘project’ running from Odeceixe to Vilamoura) has announced that it wants to demolish structures on 11 Algarve beaches, including 36 homes in Monte Clérigo.

It is news that has literally come ‘out of the blue’, and left Aljezur council (Câmara) fuming.

According to reports, mayor José Amarelinho – no stranger to campaigns – is planning to take the battle on with habitual gusto.

“This map of demolitions was not presented to us for any kind of dialogue,” he told Correio da Manhã this week. As a result, the council is simply not prepared to accept it.

Stressing that he cannot see what kind of danger these homes present to the environment “because, in truth, they do not present any kind of danger”, Amarelinho said APA’s new programme constitutes “a lack of respect to the Câmara of Aljezur” which itself is working on a development plan for the area.

It is also trying to “annihilate an urban agglomeration that has existed for more than 80 years”, he said.

What is interesting is that in the initial POC presented to borough councils and other entities, only three properties in Monte Clérigo were earmarked for demolition – one of which was a beachside complex of lavatories.

Thus why there are now 36 properties incorporated in the POC appears to be a mystery.

Giving a photograph of Teixeira one of its daily “thumbs down”, CM reports that it has tried to obtain a reaction from APA “without success”.

The Resident too has tried. We spoke to a representative who said she would see if she could find anyone who knew about the POC, and promised to get back to us.

She did shortly afterwards, saying the programme was open to public reactions until July 19 and that people could “have their say” on the site “Participa!” (

She was unable to explain why the original POC had changed from three to 36 properties.


Meantime, the rural peace and tranquility of the beachside haven looks set to change one way or another, as the parliamentary group of the PCP communist party is demanding “explanations” over plans for what it describes as a “mega-tourism project” for the area.

According to Jornal do Algarve, the controversy follows an estate agency’s announcement of the sale of 311 hectares of land for the price of €10 million “next to the beach”, earmarked for “three hotels, 200 homes, 200 apartments, a heliport and a golf course”.

Considering the area is within the Costa Vicentina protected area, the PCP wants to know how such a plan could even be contemplated, let alone granted permission.

Local populations are forever faced with “a vast gamut of restrictions, impositions and prohibitions to both common and traditional use of the area”, says the party, stressing it is not trying to be “hostile to investment in the tourism or property sector” but that it “cannot accept that the conservation of nature and the rights of populations, their habits and means of subsistence are sacrificed to the greed of economic groups”.

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