Might the various restrictions being envisaged lead to a loss of terraces in Palma? | Pere Bota


The current administration at Palma's town hall has appeared to have been on a mission against terraces, and now it has come up with measures which it anticipates approving in the form of a new bylaw during the first quarter of next year. One of these will involve an increase in the distance there has to be between terraces and the likes of entrances to public buildings. Currently this is two metres. It will become a minimum of three metres.

The president of the federation of Palma residents' associations, Joan Forteza, says that this was a proposal from the federation and one that has been accepted by the town hall. Deputy mayor for public services, Aurora Jhardi, believes that reductions of terraces will not be "drastic". "We don't want this, because we are talking about the economic interests of local people and I'm not going to neglect those."

Nevertheless, she says that there are parts of the city where it is not possible to walk and that as well as terraces there have to be considerations regarding accessibility.

Forteza notes that there are likely to be greater restrictions in order to avoid excesses of the type in the Plaça del Coll. Moreover, there are to be greater limitations on situations in which waiters have to cross roads to get to terraces.

Further measures include an end to terraces being enclosed - bar and restaurant operators are said to be in agreement with this - and an improvement to the furniture. The town hall is looking at ordinance under which investment to do this could be claimed back.

The president of the residents' federation has also called for a reduction in hours, with terraces closing at 11pm everywhere with the exception of Playa de Palma and also on Fridays and Saturdays, when they could be open until midnight. Forteza says that in general the federation is acting in the interests of the public in seeking to increase space. "The only way this can be achieved is if the terraces give up part of the space they currently use."

Talks with different parties are to be resumed in September, with a further issue on the table being possible increases in fines for transgressions.

Jhardi insists that the existing bylaw, one introduced by the former Partido Popular administration, is "100% permissive" in the granting of licences and ignores those to whom the streets belong "100%", namely the public. This bylaw was passed, she concludes, in the knowledge that in only a couple of years it would be very difficult to reverse it.

Reactions to the proposed bylaw from the restaurant sector and from the PP have been critical. The Majorca Restaurants Association believes that the new restrictions will force the closure of some 500 terraces. Its vice-president, Francisco Martínez, says that the association totally rejects the changes as the restrictions would mean that many terraces would no longer be viable.

The loss of these 500 terraces would equate to around 28% of the existing number and would also mean that jobs would go. Martínez suggests that the increase from two to three metres should apply only in specific instances. He also says that the association is against there being a ban on terraces being enclosed, thus contradicting what the town hall seems to be suggesting.

Another residents' federation, this one headed by Miquel Obrador, is also completely against the bylaw. He says that the town hall is showing that it doesn't understand the hospitality industry and treats it like an adversary. He also suggests that the bylaw would be against residents' wishes.

The Partido Popular's Marga Duran insists that any new bylaw should come about through consensus and dialogue with all interested parties. She accuses the administration of hypocrisy in having made much of consensus and dialogue only to ignore both. She points to the fact that in December the PP proposed that there be a comprehensive study of the occupation of the public way in Palma. This needs to be done, says Duran, before decisions are made.

The PP, she stresses, is not opposed to changes to the current regulations but does not want a bylaw which applies in all instances. Instead it should take account of circumstances in each part of the city.