ARTA'S new planning laws dictate that 87.27 percent of municipal land is classified as “protected” shutting the door in the face of private developers, the Council of Majorca confirmed yesterday.

Although the new legislation has officially been passed by the Council, there is a question mark hanging over the scenic spot known as Moli den Regalat in Colonia de Sant Pere.

According to information made available by Central Government's Coastal department which has national control over shoreline development, building is permitted there as publicly-owned land is registered as stretching just 20 metres from the coast and not 100 metres as was originally claimed.

Many on Arta's Council had been working behind the scenes to have the area protected from development, but a third report is now awaited which could be ready as soon as next week, and which in theory could give constructors the right to build 18 seafront chalets.

Arta's Mayor, Rafel Gili, yesterday highlighted the significance of the new legislation. “The planning laws have been debated for years,” he claimed. “We've been working on them since 2005, and at last, bar the stretch at Moli den Regalat, protection has been guaranteed for much of our municipal land.” Gili continued: “We believe that a building ban on nearly 90 percent of territory in Arta is a considerable achievement.” He said that the municipality is one of the few in the Balearics that has remained true to the Council of Majorca's original Territory Plan. “Our cultural heritage is now safe,” he said.

The approval of the new plannings laws means that a number of projects which had been put on a temporary hold can now go ahead. These, said Gili, include the park at Colonia de Sant Pere, a sports stadium by the football pitch and a new building for the pensioners' association.