Restaurant and bar owners as well as shop proprietors along Palma’s Born avenue are said to be “indignant and scared” by the town hall’s intention to remove terraces from a street, they point out, which was once “degraded” but is now “the most important commercial street in Palma.”
Together with residents of the area, the businesses have formed a united front to prevent the terraces disappearing, and they have compiled a report which analyses how things have gone in the four years that the terraces have existed. A group comprising the president of the Majorca Association of Bars, Cafeterias and Restaurants, Alfonso Robledo, spokespeople for the Born restaurant businesses, shops and residents, plus the president of Pimeco (representing smaller retailers) has demanded that the town hall leaves alone something that is working. The administration is being described as acting in an “intolerable” and “capricious” manner. “If those who live and work here are in agreement and united behind this cause, then the town hall should keep quiet,” argues Robledo.
The report states that there are 25 commercial establishments and four cafes with terraces. These occupy 136 square metres, equivalent to less than six per cent of the whole avenue. 94% is, therefore, free for traffic and pedestrian use.
Juan Miguel Ferrer, for the Born restaurants, has stated his total opposition to the removal of the terraces and has suggested that there be a moratorium on additional terraces, “if this is what they (the town hall) fear.” Businesses which would be affected argue that if the terraces go, they would have to close, as people (clients) look for terraces. Without terraces, says Ferrer, businesses would not be viable, noting that in low season they provide 57 (direct) jobs and 70 in summer. Carolina Domingo, president of the shop owners, adds that there have been no complaints from residents regarding the terraces, and so the mayor should “reflect” on this, “as there is no reason for the town hall to do as it plans.” Moreover, she says, “since there have been terraces, it has been very positive. Previously, there were people skating, town hall property would be broken, there would be a great deal of filth and vagrants sleeping rough.”
Jorge Dezcallar, the president of the residents’ association, points out that the terraces comply with hours of opening and do not create noise at nighttime. Since the terraces were introduced, he says, “the degradation has stopped.”
Robledo emphasises the level of support in favour of the terraces. It has come from some thirty associations of different types, while between 4,000 and 5,000 signatures have been gathered.