Illegal construction halted by Câmara

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Work at a site next to the EN270 road between Loulé and São Brás de Alportel, which was described as creating “an obnoxious scar”, has been halted by Loulé Câmara after it received complaints from residents.

Local residents originally believed that the work was related to the construction of a new heliport, in an area which already has a heliport, but the Câmara says that it is in fact an illegal construction site.

Local resident David Storer told the Algarve Resident: “Work on this site has been continuing for over two years. The early activity on the site involved the delivery of thousands of tonnes of rock and earth, which was used to fill the southern side to a depth of several metres, thus providing a huge area of level land adjacent to the helicopter pad and the service buildings.

“Recently, the work has involved large digging machinery being used to excavate into the hillside and transporting the earth to the southern extent of the site and which now presents an appallingly ugly aspect within 50 metres of the EN270 road.”

He said that residents living in the area had made numerous enquiries to Loulé and São Brás de Alportel Câmaras, without receiving any satisfactory answer as to the nature of the development.

“The scale and extent of the work is astonishing and all aspects of environmental concerns were being totally ignored. As an example, there is a water course which runs under the EN270 and this is being entirely filled in on the northern side of the road.

“This was an attractive area of gently sloping agricultural land and is now an obnoxious scar on the hillside, towering over the road,” said David Storer.

The Algarve Resident contacted Loulé Câmara who confirmed that the works were not licenced and that they have imposed an embargo on the work following a site visit.

“What a pity that they would not acknowledge the work taking place before all this damage was done. We still cannot find out what the land owner’s intentions are or were, but excavators were, until two days ago, still digging a trench from the site in a northerly direction up the hill,” said David Storer.

“We have also held a meeting with the São Brás Câmara planning department and they confirm that they have no information on the intentions of the land owner but suggest that they would be unlikely to support any other proposal for aircraft facilities other than the one proposed between Loulé and Boliqueime.”

Residents are also due to have a meeting with the Loulé Mayor next week.

A spokesman from the regional environmental group Almargem has confirmed that the construction works did not comply with environmental procedures.

“What happens is, first the owner starts building and then requests licensing without paying attention to the legal environmental parameters.

“This is an agricultural area and it is not legal to construct here. People’s quality of life has already been affected by the construction of the existing heliport and this has caused further grief,” he said.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]