Home NEWS Benidorm to crack down on Spanish ‘beach hoggers’

Benidorm to crack down on Spanish ‘beach hoggers’

Benidorm Spanish beach hoggers

Benidorm Council officials say they are determined to take stern action against repeat offenders who have been accused of attempting to outsmart British tourists by reserving prime sunbed spots along the shoreline in the early hours and leaving for their homes to catch up on sleep

Recently released astonishing images depict Spanish beachgoers securing the most desirable locations by the sea even before dawn, while many UK vacationers were either still revelling in nighttime festivities or peacefully dozing in their beds.

Tensions run high

Tensions ran high on the beaches of Benidorm on Monday, July 25, as police worked diligently to pacify infuriated holidaymakers. The Town Hall had received a notification from “Costas,” the authority responsible for overseeing the beaches, instructing them to enforce the 1988 Coastal Act. According to this act, a mandatory 6-meter distance must be maintained between the shoreline and the first row of sunbeds, specifically designated to “facilitate the movement of swimmers and emergency services.”

The company which hires out the blue sunbeds and umbrellas along all the Benidorm beaches – Levante, Poniente, La Cala and Mal Pas, R.A Benidorm SL, complied and positioned them the requisite 6 metres from the water’s edge. However, tempers frayed when private individuals started placing their towels and umbrellas in front of them, therefore losing that premium front-line position.

Excessive fines

Vicente Juan Ivorra, the Beaches Councillor, is currently seeking advice from legal experts to determine if this particular regulation applies not only to beach rental companies but also to individuals. The fines for violating these regulations, in my opinion, are quite excessive, ranging from 1000 to 5000€, with a maximum penalty of up to 300,000€.

It’s worth noting that a few years ago, during the time when the PP (People’s Party) held power, they attempted to enforce this regulation as well. However, due to continuous complaints from various parties, they eventually withdrew the enforcement after just 10 days. As a result, it will be intriguing to observe how long the implementation of this regulation will last on this occasion.

Numerous holidaymakers expressed their strong disapproval of this regulation, deeming it absurd and fearing that it may deter people from visiting the beach altogether. Others criticized the lack of prior notice or available information regarding its implementation. Should the regulation solely target beach rental companies, it is anticipated that people will opt for an alternative approach, foregoing the hired sunbeds and instead laying their towels much closer to the shoreline.

The beach police faced significant challenges on Monday as they found themselves caught in the midst of heated disputes between sunbathers and sunbed users who refused to compensate attendants after losing their coveted frontline positions. One can’t help but wonder how this regulation will possibly be applied to the tiny Mal Pas Cove, where sunbeds may end up lined against the rocks, posing a unique dilemma.

Yesterday, Benidorm’s Mayor, Agustin Navarro, released a statement firmly refusing to deploy the Local Police for patrolling the 1988 Coastal Act concerning the 6-meter space regulation. He asserted that if the authorities desire this law to be enforced, they must rely on their own Costas police or Regional Police for the task. With an additional 50,000 visitors expected in the resort during the month of August, the Mayor emphasized that his police force has more pressing matters to attend to. He criticized the timing of the order, questioning whether there might be a political motive behind it, considering Benidorm’s current Socialist party in power. Furthermore, the Mayor raised the question of whether Costas is applying the same enforcement to neighbouring councils like Altea and Villa Joyosa, which are under the control of the PP (People’s Party).

Expressing his concerns, the Mayor proposed that if there is a genuine intention to seriously enforce this regulation, it should be gradually introduced at the beginning of the year, with proper markers and ample time for everyone to adapt to this new, albeit somewhat peculiar, legislation.

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