By Humphrey Carter

ANDRATX council came under mounting pressure yesterday to suspend the issue of any further building licences so that the Andratx building freeze approved by the Council of Majorca can come into force immediately.

The Council of Majorca's planning department, which includes members of the Partido Popular, voted unanimously in favour of both a building freeze and that the PP-led council agree to halt the issue of any further building permits until the investigation into alleged real estate corruption has run its course and previously issued building licences examined.

Bartomeu Vicens, responsible for planning at the Council of Majorca, explained after the meeting that the body has decided to urge Andratx to agree to the suspension in order to make the Council of Majorca's building freeze “more effective” and to rule out any chance of building licences being granted behind peoples' backs.

What is more, if Andratx council agrees to co-operate with the Council of Majorca, the freeze could come into effect within a period of 24 hours, otherwise it will have to go through a long and drawn out process which could take as long as three months.

The Andratx council motion came as a surprise to Partido Popular members of the Council of Majorca's planning board but, in honour of the political coalition they form, the PP voted for the motion and against the PP Andratx council.

However, Andratx council repeated its calls for the Council of Majorca to take over complete responsibility for municipal planning, as was agreed last December.

In the meantime, the Andratx building freeze approved yesterday by the Council of Majorca will primarily affect large developments.
Applications for licence to carry out reformation work and minor building work will be exempt from the freeze.
Andratx council will have a period of 15 days to study the applications.
The Council of Majorca's move was not welcomed by the Mayor of Andratx, Jaume Porsell, who rejected the body's call for the council to agree to the suspension. “We gave the Council of Majorca its chance to get involved by asking it to take care of municipal planning, to help us,” he said.


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