by Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE Palma city council has suspended all building licences along the sea front for a year, in a precautionary measure which will allow them to revise the entire project.

The construction of the Convention Centre will go ahead as planned, but the rest of the projects for the area -- including a reception centre for visitors designed by the previous town council -will be redefined through negotiations with the promoters.

Socialist Mayor Aina Calvo said that the decision affects licences to build and demolish in three areas between the Levante motorway, Calle Joan Maragall, Avenida Gabriel Alomar and the plot where the Convention Centre will be built.

The Mayor said that the decision, backed by a report from the planning department, corresponds to the commitments agreed by the various centre left parties on the council, to increase the green zones and spaces for public use in an area where the reception centre for visitors and various blocks of luxury flats were to be built.

The immediate justification for suspending the licences, which will be ratified at an extraordinary meeting on Monday, is to protect the GESA building, which was listed by the Council of Majorca last April. This saved it from demolition -- which the previous Partido Popualr (PP) council planned -and means that it has to be preserved. “The listing of this building means that we have to rethink the design of the whole sea front,” Calvo said, adding that it gives the city the chance to modify plans which would change the entire look of “a very relevant urban space.” The Mayor said that the project is important not just for Palma but for the entire Balearics “and we will act from a position of juridical and economic responsibility.” The precautionary suspension of licences which for legal reasons has to be for one year, extendible to two, “opens up various possibilities,” the Mayor said. She added that the council will negotiate with the landowners and maintain residents informed as to any decisions taken.

Calvo said she did not doubt the advisablity of the centre for tourists, but declined to speculate on the possibility of expropriating land along the sea front and said that all the possibilities would be studied.

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