Since taking office, the new Benidorm Mayor, Toni Perez is certainly pressing ahead with improvements to the town. Yesterday he announced a proposal to move the SATE office – currently on the first floor of El Torrejo at the very end of the Levante beach in the Old Town to the Rincon de Loix, at the top of Calle Gerona.
“SATE” – The Foreign Tourist Assistance Service is a police department, which was opened in May 2013 with the objective of offering help and assistance to those who become a victim of crime. It was certainly welcomed by the then British Consul, Paul Rodwell who attended the inauguration and met with the staff, who liase closely with the Consulate. However, many had questioned the location, suggesting somewhere in the Rincon area would have been a more logical place, seeing as it is where the greatest concentration of British holidaymakers go.
At the time I mentioned that the tourist information booth opposite the Flash hotel would have been a more suitable place – and lo and behold, two years later it looks like it´s going to happen. A new joint SATE and Information Centre will be situated at the intersection of Calle Gerona and Calle Derramador - virtually opposite Morgans Tavern and where the plaque to Derren Litten, writter and creator of the ITV Benidorm series is (hope they don´t forget to move that too).
The current SATE, located on the first floor of the tourist office is only 15 square metres with not much privacy as the building is used by the Tourism Department. Tourists who attend are given assistance in reporting a crime, cancelling credit cards, contacting the Consulate, calling their insurance company in the UK and access to free telephone calls and internet facilities. The office is open weekdays from 9am until 9pm and at the weekend from 10am until 2pm. The next step should be to open 24/7 – as criminals don´t often adhere to office hours in my opinion!
The proposal is to construct a brand new building, which will accommodate both the existing information centre at one end and relocate the SATE office at the other end, doubling the current space. Architects are already drawing up proposals, which is estimated to cost in the region of €200,000 – and is allocated to come out of the 2016 budget. The Mayor has already discussed the project with the head of the National Police, whose members staff SATE and all are in agreement that the police will be able to offer better assistance in the proposed new location. This was one of the proposals on the Mayors electoral manifesto that he can nearly tick off - wonder which issue he´ll tackle next…. Peamen spring to mind!