Staff Reporter PALMA City Council will ask the European Commission for financial help in setting up a “Transport Centre of the future”. Special funding is available from the Union which can be allocated to transport networks if the area of development is close to an international airport, as would be the case with Majorca's Son Sant Joan. Rodrigo de Santos, head of the planning department, confirmed yesterday that the European Commission had declared itself to be “favourably disposed” to such financing. The City Council, he added, will be asking for support from the Commission during the limited period of time that is left before major financial restructuring is implemented. Such changes are being brought on line to accommodate ten new member states which are expected to join the European Union in May 2004. This application, he indicated, is based on a “specific section” of the Commission's transport allowance made available to Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The pivotal requirement is that such development be undertaken within the area of an international airport. De Santos was speaking after a meeting held yesterday by the council's planning department. After discussing the transport centre, he went on to speak of the ambitious development for the playa de Palma area. He explained that the “first phase of information” had now been released to residents, traders and hoteliers in the area. A meeting involving the Palma and Llucmajor councillors, hoteliers and neighbourhood associations to discuss the project was held yesterday. De Santos said that the aim of the meeting was “to get maximum consensus” for this ambitious project which will mean the “complete reconversion of a mature tourist area”. The overall plan, he stressed, will nevertheless be geared to the benefit of local residents. Apart from road surfacing and pavement improvement, major upgrades are planned in sporting, transport, housing and tourist facilities.