News and views about Cortijo del Fraile


(El Indalo) #1

This week, the Junta de Andalucia has formally declared the Cortijo a site of special historical/cultural interest. This places obligations on the owners to maintain and conserve the property. The authorities can require appropriate works to be carried out. If the owners fail to act, the Junta can acquire the property compulsorily.
Well, that’s the theory and it’s a start.
One feels the chances of the owners behaving well are pretty slim. The likelihood of the Junta being pro-active is also a cause for concern. Most importantly, in my view, there is no sign of a sensible, affordable proposal for the buildings. The locals are besotted with creating grand projects (usually museums) and arguing endlessly about them. Time and money are not on our side and what is needed are urgent measures to secure what is left of the buildings.
My own view is that there is little sense, for the forseeable future, in trying to do any more than preserve the building as a ruin. There will have to be some demolition (especially of collapsing roofs) just to make things safe. The most important building (the chapel and its tower) is also the most problematic. It is cracking and leaning severely and, to my eye, it may already be beyond repair/saving - that might suggest a need to rebuild in replica. In other words, even a minimalist preservation scheme is going to be costly - and not a good bet for attracting money in current circumstances.
Still worrying times.
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