“Of course, we are going to challenge the court decision, in a process in which the Chamber is the defendant and the promoter of the work is the interested party. Our jurists have already informed the promoter that he has to suspend the work and we will calmly wait for the process to unfold”, said mayor Luís Encarnação.

The suspension of the construction of the commercial development in Alagoas Brancas, a temporary wetland, was determined by the Administrative and Tax Court of Loulé, which granted an injunction filed by the People-Animais-Natureza (PAN) party.

According to Luís Encarnação, the municipality “will contest the judicial decision, similarly to what it did with the other two, in which the municipality was given the reason, because everything is being done within the law, without violating the Plan or any rules or laws”.

The mayor noted that the project for the development was approved at a chamber meeting in July 2013, after the Portuguese Environment Agency, the Algarve Coordination and Development Commission and the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests had issued positive opinions to the its implementation, “not pointing to any environmental interest for the place in question”.

Urban plan

In a statement, the Lagoa City Council clarified that the subdivision of Alagoas, where the commercial construction is located, is an integral part of the City's Urbanization Plan, approved in February 2008, which defined the south area of the city as an expansion of activities and the establishment of industrial, commercial and service areas, not having received any manifestation “for or against during the periods in which it was under public discussion”.

During the period of public discussion of the construction project of the commercial enterprise, approved in 2013 and now contested, “no citizen spoke out, neither against nor in favor”, reads the note.

The mayor of Lagoa said he did not understand the contestation being made, not least because, he highlighted, “two other commercial areas were built on the site”.

Luís Encarnação estimated that “a reversal of the process could result in between 35 and 40 million euros in losses for the municipality, which would make the municipality ungovernable for a period of at least one year”.