Previous demolition at Son Banya. | Archive

3

The Son Banya shantytown in Palma, the centre of a great deal of the island's drugs trade, has previously been the target of a demolition order, and a Palma judge has now ordered the eviction of some 350 people and the demolition of more than 60 properties.

The town hall had in fact filed suits against more than 60 families (corresponding with these properties) in 2011 and 2012. A court ruled in favour but the demolitions were not carried out.

At the end of July, the town hall administration filed a further suit for eviction. This was lodged via the municipal trust for social rehousing and reintegration. The court gave notice of the eviction and of the use of law enforcement and locksmiths if necessary. If residents do not remove belongings from the properties, these will be considered to have been abandoned. The trust also asked the court to take account of the complexity of demolition, given the existence of contaminants such as asbestos.

The deputy mayor for urban planning, Antoni Noguera, says that the trust will convene this week to consider the ramifications of the court order. There will be a case-by-case analysis, he suggests, with the aim being to rehouse families who leave voluntarily.

Legal sources say that the evictions can only be avoided if the town hall decides not to go ahead with them, which would seem unlikely as it was the town hall which acted in July. The gypsy community is not ruling out there being demonstrations to prevent the demolition. Where, it is being asked, will more than 400 gypsies from Son Banya go? Those affected wonder who would want them as neighbours. They also find it quite a coincidence that the opening of the new Carrefour shopping mall (FAN Mallorca Shopping) should coincide with the date set for half of them to leave. "People aren't stupid. They know how things are."