Palma.—Palma City Council, with the unanimous support of the Partido Popular, yesterday approved a white paper which could pave the way for bar and restaurant terraces being able to stay open longer on the weekend and on the eve of bank holiday and festivals in the centre of Palma.

In the initial draft approved yesterday, the council intends to extend terrace opening hours by an extra half an hour to 00.30, but that could be extended in the tourist resorts.

Deputy Mayor, Irene San Gil, explained that this initiative is just one of many the council intends to introduce to revive the capital's economy and also make the city more attractive and active as part of the Palma 365 project.

What is more she pointed out that the changes in the smoking laws have led to an 80 percent increase in applications for bars and restaurants to open terraces. Areas such as the Borne have been declared “key tourist zones” which means terraces will be permitted longer hours during the summer. There is more room in the city centre for bars and restaurants to be granted permission.

San Gil admitted that is always difficult to get the right balance between business and residents' rights but the council considers that the move will greatly benefit the service sector and will be strictly controlled by the Local Police. “Residents' right to a good night's sleep with always come before making a profit,” she stressed.
The opposition Socialists however voted against the proposal claiming that more attention needs to be paid to the needs and rights of residents and , obviously, the opposing four residents associations, used the same arguments.