There are 1,700 properties (flats and houses) in Palma for which the town hall has yet to issue a building licence. The president of the Proinba developers association, Luís Martín, says that there is a typical delay of eight months in granting licences and that the delays affect some 500 jobs.
This situation has existed since the economy started to recover. A lack of technical staff at the planning department is said to be a principal cause. At certain times of the year the problem is exacerbated because of holiday time-off. This was the case over the Christmas period, adds Martín.
The town hall argues that it has been constrained in hiring more staff because of national government budgetary limitations. Nevertheless, the deputy mayor for urban planning, José Hila, points out a new architect has just been hired and that two more architects are to be taken on in February. Hila also notes that 15% more licences were granted last year than in 2016.
Martín doesn't believe that the problem is solely a staffing issue. "The electronic administration is in diapers. We are working with systems from the nineteenth century." A report, he claims, can take up to a month in passing from one department to another. "An enormous waste of time is attributable to a lengthy and inefficient system."
Lourdes Bosch of the opposition Partido Popular believes that the delays can result in illegality, as work is started without the necessary permits all being in place. She blames Hila and Antoni Noguera, who have shared the mayoral post during the current administration, and dismisses the idea that Madrid is at fault. The administration failed to foresee the problem, even though the PP had warned that there was one.
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