This building with a pool in Algaida was sealed off by the Council of Majorca. | Archive

The Council of Majorca's agency for urbanisation discipline (ADU) is devoting a great deal of energy on detecting illegal building and swimming pools on rural land. The Council says that there has been a significant increase in such development because of holiday rental demand.

This market, part of which is black, has created competition between owners to ensure their properties have facilities to make them as attractive as possible as rentals. A pool is therefore a basic requirement as is a sun terrace. Major renovations of some properties have also been undertaken. This is leading, it is claimed, to a transformation of rural Majorca, the like of which has not been seen before and is increasing the black economy ever more.

The ADU increased the number of inspections in 2016. There were more than 500, but the key problem has become the pools. These have been built in areas, such as the mountains, where there is a high level of environmental protection, which is being breached.

Town halls normally have responsibility for building discipline, but fifteen - generally speaking led by left-wing administrations - have handed this over to the Council. The sanction applied by the ADU is to demolish what has been built. If this is done, then tougher measures are usually not applied. But the Council admits that there is much to still do.

The regional government's legislation on holiday rentals is due to set tougher sanctions, but at present - and despite the efforts of the Council - there is no precise information as to how many pools there are or in which municipalities.