Praia da Manta Rota gets a facelift

MANTA ROTA beach in Vila Real do Santo António is the latest to receive a facelift as a result of the Plano de Ordenamento da Orla Costeira (POOC).

POOC outlines a programme of urgent works, designed to restore and develop coastal ecosystems, update parking facilities and access to beaches and improve conditions for fishing.The rules were implemented in western and central Algarve in 2001, but were not enforced in the east until 2005.

On the weekend of January 13 and 14, four more buildings on the beachfront, deemed to be illegal under the set of laws implemented in 2005, were demolished.

As heavy machinery entered the vicinity, many people gathered to see the demolition, but the area was sealed off so most of the work went unseen.

Two restaurants, O Caninhas and Restinga, were flattened to make way for new, more environmentally friendly and secure buildings.

In addition, a newsagent and an old captain’s house were both knocked down.

The move is the second phase of the renovation of Manta Rota, a plan that began in December 2005, when two buildings on the beachfront were demolished.

Further work was then delayed so as not to intrude upon the busy summer season and because of opposition by several restaurateurs at the time.

It appeared that this time there was little opposition to the move, due to the modernisation plans in place to make the beach more accessible.

This second phase represents a 2.3 million euro investment, which will create a central square by the beachfront, holding numerous beach facilities as well as restaurants, kiosks and street cafes.

Two parking areas have also been confirmed with connecting bridges to the beach.

Luís Gomes, president of Vila Real do Santo António, announced that bridges and walkways leading to the beach will be ready by June of this year.

He also promised owners of properties in the vicinity will receive grants to help them adhere to the strict architectural and environmental requirements they must carry out if they wish to provide a service in the area.

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