Son Banya in Palma. Eventually, all of it is scheduled to be demolished. | Teresa Ayuga


Much of the gypsy enclave of Son Banya in Palma is due to be demolished. A court order for the eviction of residents and the demolition will come into effect from 5 October. More than 350 residents will be affected. Properties on five streets - numbers one to five - will be knocked down.

Son Banya, one of the principal centres for Majorca's illegal drugs trade, is home to gypsy families who have been there for years as well as to the island's most notorious drugs clans. Usually referred to as a shanty town, there have been efforts in the past to dislodge residents and to pull down the dwellings. In 2011 and 2012, Palma town hall sought demolitions and the evictions of more than sixty families. These were not carried out.

In June last year, the town hall once more went to court, which decided that the previous order should be complied with. Various measures were set out for the evictions, such as bringing in the state police forces and locksmiths. Residents would have to move their belongings out, and then wouldn't be allowed back in.

Finally, however, there was a postponement. The municipal board for rehousing and social reintegration, which had in fact approached the court in the first place, wanted a delay because of the complexity of executing the order. A health reason was given: the asbestos in the properties. There was also a town hall acknowledgement of possible difficulties with rehousing.

The court has now set the date. The only way of preventing the evictions and demolitions will be if the town hall asks for the order to be revoked. The town hall could also request an extension, but the court may well deny this. In fact, the town hall has done just this. The councillor for welfare, Merçè Borras, said yesterday that an extension until the first quarter of 2018 has been asked for. If it isn't granted, the town hall will take care of the families affected.

Thirty of 45 families are said to have somewhere else to go, but fifteen do not. Borras explained that they would not be rehoused in Palma's more troubled neighbourhoods, such as Son Gotleu.

The residents are, meanwhile, contemplating protests. They wonder where up to 400 gypsies from Son Banya will go and which neighbourhoods would want them.