THE HarleQuins Cabaret Group have a 45th-anniversary show this Saturday (30 November) at Camping Almafra and you may still be in time to get a ticket for what promises to be a great night. Group choreographer Carol Levey is the only remaining member of the original cast and is now ably helped by co-producer Dawn and several others, both old and new members. The evening starts at 7.30 and proceeds from the €10 ticket sales will help out local cancer care and animal charities. For tickets or information contact Carol (651 459 776) or Camping Almafra (965 889 075). Alternatively, you can go to the groups Facebook page at HarleQuins Elite Cabaret.

There was little movement at the top of Preferente Group Four last weekend as leaders CF Intercity inflicted a three-one defeat on play-off candidates CFI Alicante, whilst Hercules B stayed in second place, courtesy of a two-one victory over Callosa Deportiva.

Villajoyosa CF stay third, despite being held nil-nil at Redovan, whilst CD Almoradi are just a point behind them, as they returned to winning ways, two-nil at a rejuvenated Benidorm CD, who are two points above the drop zone.

There was more misery for second-bottom CD Torrevieja who lost their derby clash, two-one at Benferri CF, and the mid-table Vega Baja battle between Orihuela B and CD Thader, saw Orihuela run out one-nil victors.
Easy pickings beckon for CF Intercity as they go to Torrevieja this Sunday, whilst Hercules have a Saturday date at sixth-placed Alicante University.

Villajoyosa entertain UD Ilicitana and Almoradi have a home derby clash with Orihuela.

UD Horadada suffered a five-one thrashing at Ilicitana, and have Benidorm CD as their opponents on Sunday.

DETAILS have been announced of the Alfaz “Tapas de Teatro” event which coincides with the Mostra de Teatre festival. The Department of Commerce confirmed that the dates will be the 14th to 24th of March and there will be initiatives to encourage people to spend more and visitors to come to the town. The tapas will have a theatre theme when being named while the price for a drink and snack has been set at €3.50. A brochure will be published by the Commerce Department listing all participating establishments and other details.  There will also be a prize draw for customers taking part and a vote among the public for the best tapa over the course of the event.

The Mostra de Teatro fiesta will be held from the 11th to 24th of March in the Casa de la Cultura auditorium and the Albir open air Roman Museum. Actor Rafael Alvarez will receive an honour from the town, which selects someone from the acting world each year for special recognition.

A new zip-wire has been installed in l’Aiguera Park in Benidorm and is among an overall expansion of the children’s play area. The 25 metre “skyline” is aimed at kids between 3 and 12 years old, simulates the famous Benidorm skyline and is located next to the outdoor Julio Igelsias music auditorium. The children’s play castle has also been expanded and the four corners topped off with profiles of the cities four tallest buildings, the Bali Hotel, In Tempo towers plus the Lungano and Negurigane buildings.

This area now consists of 288 square meters with child friendly rubber flooring and can accommodate 95 users. Mayor Toni Perez said”as well as improving the area for children, we wanted to turn this point of L’Aigüera into a leisure and health area for people of all ages, in line with the installations we already have in the parks of Elche and Foietes”. 

SIX roads in Benidorm are set to have new paid parking blue zones to make up for spaces that have recently been lost for various reasons such as development. The largest zone by far is the 80 spaces on Avenida de Foietes and there will also be metered parking on Calle Orxeta (23 spaces), Calle Londres (20), Plaza SSMM Reyes (10), Calle Jupiter (9) and Calle Limones (8).

These roads and squares are all in and around the Foietes area in the Old Town. Under town specification Benidorm is supposed to have a minimum of 1,523 metered spaces but this has dropped by 200 recently. Many of the spaces that have been or will be lost have also been in this part of town.

The fate of a controversial luxury apartment complex, overlooking Benidorm’s Levante beach, hangs in the balance following a supreme court order for their demolition.

The iconic, twin towers of Gemolos 28, have dominated the skyline at the Northern point of the Bay of Levante, since they were completed five years ago.

However, the two towers were built in contravention of the coastal, Law of the Costas, a ruling which prevents building projects being constructed too close to the sea.

President of the Valencia Community XimoPuig, who announced the ruling of the Supreme court last week, explained that the Generalitat faces a compensation bill of more than 100 million euros if the action goes ahead.

The supreme court annulled the original 2005, licence given to constructors Terras de l’Horta-Calpe Buildings subsidiary, after completion in 2012.

Five years of legal wrangling ensued, with claims of corruption involving politicians, who issued permits to the construction company to proceed with the development.

Lawyers representing the regional government put forward an appeal in 2017, but this was rejected as inadmissible last week, leaving them no further course of appeal and faced with submitting plans for demolition within three months.

Gemelos 28 is comprised of two identical towers, 22 floors in height, containing 168 luxury apartments, all with spectacular sea views, built a few metres from the sea on a headland known as Punta Llisera in Rincon de Loix area of Benidorm.

Part of the complex was actually constructed in contravention of the maritime-terrestrial coastal law, which forbids building within 20 metres of the sea.

Owners of apartments located in the tall building situated just behind the newly constructed towers brought the complaint to the supreme court, as they were unhappy with the fact that their properties no longer had uninterrupted sea views, consequently diminishing their value considerably.

The majority of Gemolos 28 apartments were sold before the property crisis, at prices ranging from 400,000€ to 700,000€, to which the Valencian government would have to add 20%, when the compensation payments are made to owners

They are also faced with a bill of around 72 million euros in demolition costs for the two towers, as environmental considerations would be involved.

The complex adjoins the protected, natural park of the Serra Gelada and is located only few metres from the ocean, which could also cause damage to marine fauna and flora.

The two buildings actually infringe the coastal law boundaries by a mere four metres, which gives owners of Gemelos 28 hope that the demolition decree will not be executed.

One resident, speaking to the Spanish press dismissed the speculation as nonsense,”For the moment, nobody from the Administration has contacted us to talk about the compensation that would correspond to us”.

“The boundaries could be modified to avoid this ridiculous situation” he said expressing his opinion that “the line demarcation could be adjusted or whatever, but we all have to find a solution,” pointing out that once demolished, the towers could actually be rebuilt four metres further back from the sea completely legally.

This fact was backed up by regional councillor for urban planning, Lourdes Casselles, who told reporters that, “there is no urban problem to rebuild in the area.”

Furthermore, should the developer re-submit plans for the development with four metres difference, “all the permits and licenses to build are in place, providing construction respects the public domain and the established buildability of the project,” said the Casselles.

Worried family members and police were celebrating earlier this week, when British woman, Norah Garratt, was found four days after going missing from a Benidorm hotel.

Sixty-three year old, Norah, an Alzheimer patient from Northampton, had last been seen at around 05.15h on the morning of Saturday, November 24th.

She was spotted leaving the Gran Hotel Bali, in the La Cala de Benidorm area of the resort, wearing only denim jeans and a long-sleeved, cream rugby shirt with blue stripes.

When Norah left the building, she had no money, credit cards, ID documents, handbag, mobile phone or warm clothing on her person.

Soon after her disappearance, her husband, son, daughter and two cousins who were in Benidorm, made an appeal on social media outlets to help find their relative.

Several witnesses came forward claiming to have seen someone matching Norah’s description, but these were all timed before Saturday afternoon.

By last Tuesday, four days after she went missing, there had been no further reported sightings since, leaving both Police and relatives worried that she may have strayed away from populated areas of the resort into the nearby countryside.

Flyers with a recent photo of Norah had been distributed to bars, businesses, tourists and taxi drivers, by family and volunteers, in the hope of people coming forward with new information.

Each hour that passed increased the precariousness of the situation, as Norah was described as a scared, confused Alzheimers patient, who only speaks English, but could possibly remember her anniversary date and maiden name, which is Byrne.

A post on the page of resident Harry Kroesen, was shared scores of times by concerned Facebook users, moved by the message, which read “NORAH GARRATT is 63 years old and suffering from Alzheimer…. just imagine this was your Grandma, Mother or Auntie… PLEASE HELP!

We cannot do this alone…. 3 valuable days already gone……… WE NEED TO FIND HER!

HELP!!!!!”

One comment by Jacqui Perkins read, “ Please keep your eyes open in the streets and in parks to find Norah???! Make an extra round TODAY with your dog in more desolate places just to make sure she is not there?!”

A coordinated search of the area around the Gran Hotel Bali was organised for the afternoon of last Tuesday 27th November, with volunteers joining the family and police officers in an effort to unearth more clues to Norah’s disappearance.

As family members and volunteers gathered to conduct the search, the good news was relayed to the group, explaining that Norah had been found by at 13.00h, by local police, alerted by a resident from La Nucia, who had heard a voice coming from a neighbouring ravine, known as a Barranco.

The police officers, descending into the ravine and were able to rescue Norah, who although in a confused state, appeared in otherwise good health, despite her four-day ordeal.

The search included the participation of Benidorm Local Police and the Benidorm Fire Brigade who provided several vehicles and an Alfa 1 helicopter.

Norah was immediately transferred by the Red Cross/Cruz Roja to the Marina Baixa Hospital in Villajoyosa, where she remains under observation.

Family members joined with both Local and National Police, in thanking everyone for their continuous help and support during the search for Norah.

Abandoned dogs and cats in Altea, now have a dedicated shelter, thanks to the conversion of a former slaughterhouse, set up by the town council and a local animal charity in the town.

However, the Punt D’Acollida Animal centre, which opened recently is not a centre for members of the public to take stray animals, but moreover, a shelter where police can transfer animals either taken or reported to them using the normal methods.

The new centre can accommodate up to four dogs and six cats in comfortable cages, with adjacent exercise area, for between two and five days, before being transferred to the main animal protection shelter in Benidorm.

President of the Peluts de la Marina charity, Mari Paz Solbes, explained, “we have been demanding a facility of this type for a long time because having a shelter is very difficult, but in the end, the city council picked up the baton and we are very grateful for this decision.”

In the surrounding area, only Benidorm and La Nucia, operate similar facilities, although, prior to 2012, the local police station in Villa Gadea had cages for holding animals.

“These did not meet the adequate conditions,” said the president, but at the new reception shelter, “the first in the region, the abandoned animals will be better served,” before stressing that, “it is not a place where citizens can leave the animals they find abandoned or the litters of bitches that they own and do not want.”

The old slaughterhouse, which is situated adjacent to the Rio Algar river, closed in 1984, owing to unsanitary conditions, but for the previous fifty years, cows, pigs, sheep, goats and horses, were delivered from as far afield as Murcia and Gandia, before being sold onto local butchers.

Reiterating the procedures Altea citizens should follow with abandoned animals, town health councillor Diego Martinez, explained that local police should be contacted in the first instance.

“Municipal veterinarian, Ana Ferrando, will be in charge of the revision and care of the animals, and will take care of it’s transfer to the animal protection centre in Benidorm if the owner is not found”, he said.

Anyone wishing to report an abandoned animal in Altea should call the local police on 96 584 55 11, “who will then arrange the transfer to the new animal shelter” explained Martinez.