STAFF REPORTER THE Development Board managing the Playa de Palma Reform programme (PRI) said yesterday that its blueprint is going to be put on hold and reassessed in the light of objections that have been pouring in.

Government spokesperson Joana Barcelo and Project Commissioner Margarita Najera said yesterday that since the time that the project has been put out for public scrutiny, 1'335 protests have been officially lodged with the Board and that the regional government wants to take the social tension that has been rising over the development “off the boil.” A major outcry over the reform project had first come to light when residents and businesses in Can Pastilla learned that contrary to their initial expectations, over 90 properties were to be demolished to make way for an esplanade, threatening to destroy what for decades had been a typically Mediterranean-style community.

Barcelo and Najera said that 80.3 percent of the complaints relating to the entire project - not just the section that affects Can Pastilla - were from private individuals, with the remainder being from the hotel and tourist trade sector.

However, the suspension of the PRI, they continued, does not mean that the reform project is going to be scrapped. Government spending of 127 million euros is going to be invested this year and next in upgrading outdated tourist accommodation and modernising a coastal resort which had its origins half a century ago. Improvements, furthered Najera, will include introducing more efficient energy use and streamlining access to the Playa de Palma, the contract for which is to be awarded within the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, said Barcelo, all of the official complaints would be looked at individually, adding that her department would “work tirelesly” to reach consensus between the government, developers, residents and businesses prior to the next regional elections scheduled for May next year.