The Villa Cortina has been a matter of controversy for several years. | MDB

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The saga of Villa Cortina in Formentor may at long last be at an end. Three years after it had annulled the building licence and ordered the property's demolition, the Balearic High Court now says that it is "legalisable" because its visual impact has been reduced significantly.

Work at the villa has consisted of a screen of trees and an alteration to the look, and so the court has rejected appeals lodged by Pollensa town hall and by a company (Masampe) on behalf a neighbour who had denounced the owner of the villa, Alfonso Cortina, the one-time president of Repsol. The town hall and the company will have to pay costs, and there is no ordinary appeal left.

After learning the court's decision, Cortina's lawyer, Juan Nadal, said that he was satisfied that a long legal process was at an end, one that had prevented the villa being occupied for several months. "The property is totally legal and it should never have got to this situation," he remarked in reference to the drawn-out legal process. He added that his client will have to assess whether or not to now claim damages.

The villa was built after the town hall had originally granted a licence in August 2005. Masampe took the matter to court, and eventually - in 2014 - the Balearic High Court annulled the licence, commenting on the "formidable impact" the villa had on the "harmony of the landscape".

Pollensa town hall, having lost the appeal, will now be required to undertake the process of legalising the villa.