The overall modernisation programme of the Playa de Palma will now entail 8'000 less homes in order to allow for wider development of tourist businesses, Managing Director of the Playa de Palma Reform Board, Alvaro Gijon, said yesterday. Plans are to increase the quality of hotels along the Playa de Palma or convert outdated accommodation into flats.

Originally, 22'000 new homes had been planned as part of an integral urban reform but the number has now been reduced to 14'000. Gijon said that it is expected that the latest changes to the modernisation programme will be approved at the end of March next year.

Gijon said that of the 182 hotel establishments which exist along the Playa de Palma, 17.5% are of one or two star quality. The Integral Reform Plan as well as the new Tourism Law will see this category of accommodation disappear altogether with half of the number improving their quality for tourists and the other half being converted into flats.

In the traditional areas of the Playa de Palma, Can Pastilla and S'Arenal, the possibility of building more homes has been restricted, thus protecting the architectural character of the older suburbs.

Gijon said that in order to prevent further urban deterioration of the Playa de Palma, new pavements and parking areas will be built and landscaped gardens will be developed.

He said that the Reform Programme will now “put the brakes” on decisions which hoteliers had been taking until now and will allow room for local bars, restaurants and cafés to benefit equally from the tourist industry.