There were calls for Balearic government resignations last night after the Balearic High Court TSJB over-ruled and annulled the building moratorium or building freeze passed by the Insular Council of Majorca which froze a total of 75 developments on the island. The court's ruling has been welcomed by developers and the construction industry but has left both the Council of Majorca and the left wing coalition government stunned. Although yesterday's ruling only applies to 25 of the blocked developments, the opposition PP party said that the High Court's decision, on the grounds that the Council does not have the adequate powers to enforce the moratorium (which was introduced in 1998), highlights the “irresponsibility” of the left wing coalition. President of the Council of Majorca, Maria Antonia Munar, vowed that the court ruling “will change nothing as regards protecting our island.” In response to the grounds of the ruling Munar said “the Council of Majorca, approved the moratorium in order to defend the interests of all Majorcans, who need more help in protecting the island.” Munar, who intends to appeal against the ruling, also said she doubts that the Insular Council will be obliged to pay affected developers compensation. “I would presume that the courts are in favour of protecting (the land) and general interests as opposed to particular interests.” The secretary general of the Majorca Union party, of which Munar is also leader, Bartomeu Vicens, said that work has yet to start on the bulk of the developments concerned and the Council's planning officer, Rafael Lacy said that while the court has ruled against the moratorium, it has not ruled against the process under which the developments were frozen. Lacy also argued that the Council has possessed adequate powers to introduce such a building freeze since 1990. But what the court ruling has also done is to put the brakes on the Majorca Union party's “Majorca for the Majorcans” drive. The party agreed unanimously yesterday that the party needs to reflect on developments and act with “prudence” in the future on urban development issues. Munar even hinted that her party was not to blame, but other forces which always push her party into making decisions on building. “What we have to do is adopt the right decisions without the other parties pushing,” she said. “We've got to be clear in our ideas and act with prudence,” she added. The Partido Popular said that the ruling is the clearest recommendation yet to the Insular Council that it should be more sensitive when trying to protect the environment and warned that the proposed tourist tax idea could also end up facing a similar end in the high court.


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