Palma.—As demonstrations go the one that took place in Deya’s village car park on Friday evening was notably peaceful and oozed goodwill. More than 100 locals, resident expats of all nationalities, tourists and well wishers thronged the area with banners, placards, tamborines, whistles, drums and homemade signs as sombre members of the Guardia Civil and Policia Local stood by, their eyes shielded by shades.
The reason for the gathering was to demonstrate against the brutal stripping of a beautiful orchard that flanks the current main car park in Deya and forms part of the land of Can Vallés, an old uninhabited property acquired by architect Axel Ball and other partners. A deal was apparently brokered between the previous owners of the property two decades ago to allow the local council to build a car park on the site. Locals were shocked and aghast at the haste with which the orchard was demolished without appropriate dialogue with the Deya community at large. Well known residents Lynne Franks and Alice Jay who runs Avaaz - the campaigning community site – were there to lend support. In fact Alice Jay has tirelessly campaigned via Avaaz to gain signatures on a petition to arrest further construction in the zone.
Aside from a new car park that could accommodate up to 20 cars, there are apparently plans to create a large two storey building that would house units for shops and commercial activities. Many of those present felt that such a construction would ruin the character and serenity of the village and destroy the peace and harmony for which Deya is legendary. Given its Tramuntana UNESCO World Heritage site status, campaigners felt such an eyesore in the heart of Deya would prove an abomination to holidaymakers who visit the village purely because of its virgin, unspoilt state.
This is a locale that over the decades has attracted scores of famed writers such as Robert Graves, leading artists and musicians, drawn by its tranquility and natural beauty. Responsible improvements have been made to the village over the years but preservation of its unique heritage has – up until now - been respected.
What has angered locals is that there are already plans to create a car park in a less obtrusive zone in the village and they feel that if coaches and large tourist vehicles are allowed to park in another area right in the centre, Deya will become a mini Valldemossa, besieged by heavy traffic throughout the holiday seasons - something that its size will not be able to sustain.
It is hoped that through peaceful dialogue some kind of compromise can be reached between the current owners of Can Vallés, the local residents and Deya Council.