Public byways closed off
Anger as authorities fail to act over closure of livestock trails
Residents are up in arms over the closure of several public livestock trails by farmers and builders – and the inaction of the local council. They can no longer walk the tracks and enjoy the countryside.
By Nuria Pérez SAN Miguel de Salinas residents are up in arms over the closure of several public livestock trails by farmers and builders – and the inaction of the local council.
Expats Heike Johnson and Jennifer Mullet told Costa Blanca News that fences and gates have been installed to prevent use of the public byways by residents.
As a result they cannot enjoy the countryside and walk along the tracks, even though they are administered by the regional government.
Additionally, pine trees and bushes are being felled.
“I have lived in this area for nearly 20 years and I used to ride my horse to Torremendo along the livestock trails, but now it is impossible because it is all gated and fenced,” explained Mrs Johnson.
Mrs Mullet said: “There are fences everywhere, even though access should be permitted.”
She added that felled trees and bushes are being piled up despite the high risk of fire and the lack of a fire fighting plan in the area.
The last straw is that the Colada Sierra Escalona livestock trail at El Mirador de San Miguel has been turned into a private service road for machinery and trucks of a construction company which is building luxury villas in the area.
The stretch from the Camino de la Balsa road to El Mirador de San Miguel urbanisations was surfaced a few years ago and used as a narrow service road for residents, linking the urbanisations to Las Filipinas, Orihuela Costa and San Miguel de Salinas.
In May the council announced that the service road would be closed to traffic because it was a livestock trail.
Town planning councillor Sergio Correas said at the time ‘it will probably be open to cyclists, but not to motor vehicles’.
However, the road has only been closed to residents and is being exclusively used by the builder and potential buyers.
A pavement, sand and a fence have been installed to prevent access to urbanisation residents.
President of San Miguel Arcángel residents’ association, Manolo Gómez told Costa Blanca News the builder had blocked the service road and turned it into a private amenity for his machinery.
“Moreover the track has been widened and an advertising banner for the development has been installed at the junction to the Camino de la Balsa to guide potential buyers, even though advertising banners are banned at livestock trails,” he said.
Additionally the park beside the building site has been fenced off and construction materials and rubble dumped there.
“We are tired of having our public tracks blocked and used for private purposes and the authorities doing nothing about it,” he said.
“We cannot accept that the builders always win.”
The Colada Sierra Escalona is a nine-kilometre-long trail, starting at the Pico Alcor hill in the heart of the Sierra Escalona and running to the coast.
Residents view the byway which has been closed off
The private use of the byway has angered residents