Santa Catalina will be one of the Palma districts most affected by the terraces bylaw. | Miquel À. Cañellas

Revised ordinance in respect of the public way in Palma should finally come into force before the start of the main tourism season. One of its main aspects has to do with bar and restaurant terraces, and unless there are any further revisions to the draft bylaw, some parts of the city will lose a significant number of terraces.

Santa Catalina is set to be most affected. There are at present 123 terraces. The bylaw envisages the disappearance of 52 (42%), these being 25 full terraces and 27 what are referred to as "micro-occupancies" (one or two tables or barrels). In Pere Garau, the 68 terraces would be reduced by 25. Six would go from the fifteen in Es Jonquet, while 25 would be eliminated from the current 294 in the old centre of the city.

The reason for the terraces disappearing is because of a stipulation that there is a minimum of 2.5 metres space for pedestrians. This will also mean that the size of some terraces is reduced.

A further change is to appearance. Awnings will have to go, and there will be an eighteen-month period during which they will need to be removed. Parasols and screens, similar to those on the Born, will be all that is permitted.

In total, there are around 1,650 terraces in Palma, of which 500 will be affected by the "zoning" principle applied by the town hall. This zoning is intended to reduce "saturation" of the public way.

The process of arriving at this new bylaw has been fraught. There have been and still are disagreements between the parties governing the town hall, while the restaurants association walked out of negotiations because it felt its views were not being listened to. The federation of residents association has consistently had its say (generally wanting more restrictions), and the city's ombudsman has also become involved.

One element that is currently absent from the new ordinance is any study of the economic impact of the changes.

Meanwhile, bar and restaurant owners along the Paseo Mallorca are considering legal action against the town hall. One bar owner told the Bulletin that he had thought Podemos were on the side of small businesses.

"I've been to the town hall, but they were no help. My awning was put up by the previous bar owner, so I'm not taking it down, the town hall can. I’m not wasting any time or money in removing it. Why should I? We only really have them up in the winter, so what’s the problem? Removing them will hit takings. We're still going to have tables and chairs outside so what difference does an awning make? It's just Podemos trying to make a name for themselves by making stupid noises. It's certainly not winning them any votes."

* The councillor responsible for the public way bylaw is Aurora Jhardi of Podemos.