Work on a hotel in the Palma district of Son Armadans. | Archive

A resurgence in construction in Palma is causing backlogs in the issuing of building permissions and licences. The number of requests for licences, says the town hall's director for urban planning, Joan Riera, has gone up over the past twelve months to some 7,000. This is more than double an average of 3,000 during the years of economic crisis and is higher than in 2007 before the crisis took hold: there were around 6,000 in that year.

The demand for licences has therefore placed greater workloads in town hall personnel. But the number of technical staff in the relevant department - works and business activities - is the same or even lower than in 2007. Riera notes that applications are in any event tending to take longer than was once the case because staff are more cautious; there is always the fear of some corruption allegation.

The licences in the past year have mainly been for small projects, but some 1,050 have been for major works. Riera explains that these bigger projects can take eight months to work their way through the system, while the smaller ones typically require five months. Regulations state that the process should only take three months.

In order to deal with the demand, there is to be a reallocation of town hall duties. The works department is to be reinforced with seven more staff, and the activities department with nine. José Hila, the deputy mayor for urban planning, echoes what Riera is saying. "The requests for licences are at a level before economic crisis, while the staff numbers have remained the same."

The opposition Partido Popular is welcoming the move but regrets the fact that the administration has taken two years to increase staff numbers.