After years of debate and discussions, it appears that the emblematic and historic La Fortalesa estate in the bay of Pollensa is going to be opened to the public.
The estate, which has a 17th-century fortress, five more houses, two swimming pools and a helipad and is a very popular location for celebrity weddings and celebrations, was sold by its previous British owner earlier this year to a top Conservative Party donor James Lupton for an estimated 56 million pounds. Lupton is also joint treasurer of the Tory Party and has not only donated £2.5million to the party, he also hosted a table at the Tories’ infamous Black and White fundraising ball in February, donating a week-long trip for 24 people to La Fortalesa. The holiday was the most expensive lot at the fundraising auction and went for £220,000. However, it appears that no longer will people have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to visit the estate.
One of the stumbling blocks has been that in order to access the property, people have to go through the air force base in Puerto Pollensa. But the colonel who is in charge of the air base looks set to give the green light.
“I understand that there does not have to be any problem with allowing visits to La Fortalesa, so long as the necessary permission is given. There is an entrance on the perimeter, which is away from the military unit and is currently the one used by the owner of property. It does not interrupt activity on the base and nor does it mean entry into security areas. It would be sufficient to notify us in timely fashion and it will be open to them (visits).”
These are the words of the colonel, Román Carlos Martínez, and they pave the way for guided visits to be scheduled for the first time to La Fortalesa, a property classified as being in the “cultural interest” (BIC). The fact that the only access by land to La Fortalesa crosses the restricted military zone has been the main obstacle until now to negotiating visits to the estate.
Pollensa’s councillor for urban planning, Tomeu Cifre Bennàssar, met recently with representatives of the owners in order to negotiate visits that would be in line with an article of law related to Balearic heritage. Under this, owners of properties that are classified as being BIC are obliged to permit a public visit on at least four days a month on agreed days and at agreed times.
The law does provide for the Council of Majorca to be able, in certain instances, to partially or totally waive this obligation, but this is something that is hardly ever done, say the Council’s legal sources.
These same sources understand that in the case of La Fortalesa, the fact that the only access is across military land could have been sufficient reason to withdraw the obligation for visits, but there has never been a formal request for this. And now that the base’s chief is open to there being access makes guided visits more likely than ever.
Councillor Cifre was pleased with the meeting with the owner’s representatives. Cifre has also held informal talks with the base’s colonel and is now waiting for there to be a formal meeting to discuss the matter in detail.