Palma.—Yesterday, the lease holders in Puerto Portals were celebrating after the Association to Protect the Interests of Puerto Portals, which was set up by the owner of Wellies, Geoffrey Kenyon, and leading international Palma lawyer, Alejandro Bellapart five years ago won their battle to force the authorities to respect the initial leases purchased in 1981.

Bellapart explained yesterday that the initial concessions to businesses, moorings and even apartments, were granted in 1981 for a 50 year period and that was clearly outlined in the sales deeds etc.

Good news “But, in 1988, the Coastal Law was passed and, because the coast of Spain is public and owned by the government, it can grant, modify or cancel concessions and the like and what it decided to do as part of the new Coastal Law was reduce the length of the concessions in Puerto Portals to 2018 from 2031, therefore significantly slashing the length of the original 50 year leases and concessions laid out in the deeds drawn up in 1981,” he explained yesterday evening as the good news spread through the port.

The biggest problem was that not only did lease holders suddenly see the value of their investment shrink, the uncertainty over the whole lease issue led to a virtual freeze of any new major investment in the port. “No one could get a mortgage on their properties, moorings or businesses because no one knew how long the leases would last. “So, Geoffrey and I set up this association some five years ago and grew to represent over 140 people. “We felt it was time to make some noise in order to get the local and central governments to listen to our problems and concerns. “The Graf family, which owns the concessions and the government were talking, but no one was talking to us,” Alejandro said. “But, for the past five years, central government has been looking to modify certain articles of the Coastal Law and one of them, article number two, relates to concessions they have granted to certain ports and marinas around the country and one of the ports is Portals. “And last Friday they agreed to modify article number two by permitting leases of 75 years, not the 30 years which came in back in 1988. “So, what does this mean? It means that the original concessions and leases stand in Puerto Portals and they will now run until 2031 and that is great news for everyone, especially the business community which has been in limbo for all these years.

No investment “There's been no investment because no one knew how long their leases would last but now it's all clear, well it has to be approved by parliament, but it will - within the next month I reckon - so Portals can get back to business. “There are plans for a multi storey car park to be built and the road running in front of the second row of Portals to be pedestrianised and the road moved back, running through what is currently the square which very few people actually use. “The Graf family is very committed to reviving Portals and now we can because we don't have to worry about our immediate future,” he added.

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