Arena will hold recreational activities and shows

Mock up image of the future bull ring

The derelict bull ring in Orihuela will not be demolished but converted into a multiuse venue for recreational activities and shows with a capacity of 2,800 people. It will also have a children’s playground, a cafe, an exhibition room and public toilets.

This is the project presented by Mayor Emilio Bascuñana on Friday, which has an estimated budget of €403,000 and the Town Hal will pay for with money left over dating back to 2008 from different projects that were either never carried out or ended up costing less than expected.

The council were looking for a quick and affordable solution because the building is a ruin and poses a real danger to people walking by it.

The project will be carried out over an area of 7,500 square metres and architect Rafael Legidos explained that the first row of the stands will be preserved from the existing structure whilethe other three will be eliminated because they are in such bad condition. As a result the exterior wall will be reduced in height from 5.8 metres to 3.8.

He said although certain areas will be eliminated, distinctive elements will be kept because of their uniqueness and historical interest, like the stone blocks, burladeros (matadors’ refuges) and main doors.

The playground is planned to go in the old horses area with a garden area and around the ring a system of lights will be installed to show the original dimensions of the plaza.

The mayor said the remodelling keeps all options open in case building a bull ring is considered in the future, as this would require a much bigger investment which at the moment the Town Hall cannot afford. He said he hopes that once they have approved the funding and allowed 7-8 months for construction it might be ready for summer 2017.

Given the historical importance of the bull ring, which dates from 1907, Bascuñana noted it will include a museum about its bullfighting history but will not be prepared to house bull events. He reminded that the opposition parties joined together last October and outvoted his Partido Popular to force through a declaration that Orihuela will not hold any bull fighting shows.

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