Almargem demands that the requalification and expansion of the old Alfamar be stopped

The Sunset Albufeira Sport & Health Resort tourist project, which provides for the requalification and expansion of the former Alfamar development, […]


The Sunset Albufeira Sport & Health Resort tourist project, which envisages the redevelopment and expansion of the old Alfamar development, opposite Rocha Baixinha beach, in the municipality of Albufeira, was the subject of an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) «allegedly “in compliance” in the paperwork but totally “non-conforming” in the territory», accused Almargem, who demands that the project be stopped.

The Algarve environmental association went public with denouncing what it considers "the unfairness of the EIA legislation", following the public discussion of the study on this project, which foresees an investment of around 120 million euros and has PIN status (Project of National Interest).

According to Almargem, the project “includes the requalification of the old Alfamar development, which is the subject of a Municipal Detail Plan to which 2532 beds are already allocated, in addition to the creation of another 1004 beds, distributed among nine other tourist facilities (hotels, blocks of apartments and villas), almost all spread over land in the Rocha Baixinha area, opposite Vilamoura».

«With the exception of the urban-tourist areas already built in Alfamar and adjacent sports facilities, all other developments are clearly in conflict with the territorial management instruments in force, namely PROTAL, POOC Burgau-Vilamoura, PDM Albufeira, RAN and REN. A good part of what is left of the Pinhal do Concelho is also called into question, which is part of the pine forests on sandy substrate of the Algarve coast, a habitat considered priority conservation by European and national legislation, which has been systematically fragmented throughout decades,” defended the association.

This reality also seems to be very clear for the project's promoters – the groups Libertas-Investimento Imobiliário and Sun House – who admit that the territorial management instruments «strongly condition, or even prohibit, the building in the intervention area» of the Sunset Albufeira Resort . Despite this, they argue that these instruments are out of date given the current reality, remembering that they are under review.

«In a legal opinion attached to the EIA process and paid for by the promoters, some of the ways capable of overcoming the strong constraints of this project are even explained in detail and with evident shamelessness, including, among others, the alteration of the Albufeira and the suspension of PROTAL itself», accuses Almargem.

Environmentalists recall that this project was rejected in 2016 by the Algarve's Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) for non-compliance, "but only due to missing relevant information." Following the presentation of a more complete project by the promoters, this entity “in the end accepted it and put it up for public discussion, despite the project continuing to violate all territorial management instruments”.

This was possible due to the «existence of an incredible detail in the legislation in force, approved in 2013», when Pedro Passos Coelho was prime minister.

One of the points of the law «defends that “the non-compliance of the project with the applicable territorial management instruments does not affect the decision of the Environmental Impact Statement”, which may thus become “conditional favour”, referring the progress of the process to the responsible entities and/or licensors (Commissions, Municipalities), which may later come to factiously change the referred instruments, causing the project to become “compliant”».

«Almargem believes that the time has come to end all this shameful iniquity. The EIA for the Sunset Albufeira Resort project should therefore be subject to an unfavorable decision by the CCDR of the Algarve, a fundamental attitude to trigger a process of changing the legislation in force», concluded the association.