Dear Sir
I would like to address the issues in the news report regarding dry docks on rural land which was published on 14 January.

I speak as an employee of one of these businesses. I have worked in Andratx in this sector for over 20 years and as such, I speak from personal experience.

Firstly, as in any sector of commerce, there has to be a distinction made between the quality and legitimacy of different businesses. The business that I work for, one of those affected, is fully compliant in every way bar one. All taxes are paid, the employees all have long-standing permanent contracts, there is a fully operational environmental policy, a health and safety policy, all insurances are in place and all rules and regulations are complied with. The only difference is that the business is operating on land designated as rustic because there is no alternative to this in Andratx.

Secondly, there is a building of almost 500 square metres which was legally built on the land with agricultural-industrial permissions in 1982. This property has been operating as a nautical business with ‘dry dock’ facilities for 32 years now and obviously, being on the main road between Andratx and Puerto Andratx, it hasn’t been operating secretly. All rates and rubbish dues are paid, and we regularly request the paid-for services of the Ajuntament for police assistance to move larger boats to and from the port.

So why has this situation occurred? Andratx is a small municipality which has no industrial estate and, more importantly, nowhere easy to put one. The main industry here is the nautical sector. In fact, the Ajuntament advertises the key importance of Andratx as a nautical resort on its web page. The dry dock at the Club de Vela is full and over-subscribed so our own facility should be seen as a necessary and complementary service – and definitely not as unfair competition!

If somewhere suitable were to be found, we would be happy to move and the business would operate in exactly the same way, just from a different location. If the business was forced to close however, the work force would be out of work and on the dole. The business generates hundreds of thousands of euros per year, almost all of which goes to pay either wages, taxes and Social Security or outsourced work to other businesses and services in the nautical sector across Palma and south-west Mallorca.

Until somewhere within the municipality can be found, where could all the boats go? Is it right that Andratx, with its rocky topography and little scope for a suitably-sited industrial estate, should be compelled to concede its commercial activity to its already much wealthier neighbour Calvia? This issue is not restricted solely to the dry docks as was reported but to all businesses operating on land designated as rustic. If enforced, it would leave Andratx with very little but banks, estate agents and seasonal restaurants. Many families would be directly affected by the decision, here and across the island as a whole.

Lastly, regarding the news report, I don’t understand the comment about children. Obviously, It is no easier to enter our premises than any other. There are no private houses nearby. Young children are with their parents and all other children should be of an age to know that it is wrong to illegally break into any property. The risks that are cited would surely apply every bit as much to a business located on an industrial estate or anywhere else?

I hope that this gives another point of view to this controversial issue.

Dawn Toddington