Tempers were certainly raised on Benidorm beaches yesterday as police tried to calm irate holidaymakers. The Town Hall have received notification from "Costas" – the authority which are responsible for the beaches that they must enforce the 1988 Coastal Act. This states that there must be a 6 metre space between the shore and first line of sunbeds to "reserve this space for the movement of swimmers and emergency services"!
6 metre space required on Benidorm beaches
R.A Benidorm SL – the company which hires out the blue sunbeds and umbrellas along all the Benidorm beaches - Levante, Poniente, La Cala and Mal Pas complied and positioned them the requisite 6 metres from the waters edge. However, tempers frayed when private individuals started placing their towels and umbrellas in front of them, therefore losing that premium front line position.
Councillor of Becahes, Vicente Juan Ivorra is consulting legal advisors to see whether this regulation applies to individuals as well as the hire company. Fines for breeching these regulations – ridiculous in my opinion, range between 1000 and 5000€, with up to a maximum of 300,000€. A number of years ago when the PP were in power they also tried to enforce this regulation but withdrew after 10 days following continued complaints, so it will be interesting to see how long it lasts for this time.
Frayed tempers on Levante beach
Many holidaymakers said that this regulation was ridiculous and will put people off going to the beach. Other criticized that there was no forewarning or information available. If the regulation is only enforced for companies then people will stop hiring them out, instead placing a towel down much closer to the shoreline. The beach police had a real headache yesterday mediating frayed tempers between sunbathers and also between sunbed customers who refused to pay the attendants after loosing their frontline spot. I wonder how on earth this will apply to the tiny Mal Pas cove - the sunbeds will be lined up against the rocks!
Benidorm Mayor refuses to co-operate
Benidorm Mayor, Agustin Navarro yesterday issued a statement in which he has refuses to send Local Police to patrol the 1988 Coastal Act regarding the 6 metere space. He was emphatic in stating that if they want this law enforced then they will have to send their own Costas police or Regional Police. With 50,000 extra visitors throughout the month of August visiting the resort, the Mayor said that his police force have far more important things to do. He critised that this order was given in the busiest month and questioned if there was any political agenda - Benidorm has a Socialist party in power and has asked whether Costas are also applying the same to neighbouring PP councils such as Altea and Villa Joyosa. If they want this seriously enforced then perhaps it can be introduced slowly at the beginning of the year, with proper markers and give everybody time to adapt to this new, if somewhat bizarre legislation! Good on him....