Calle Fabrica: terrace space set to be reduced by a third. | Teresa Ayuga

Palma town hall wants to ensure that the new bylaw regarding terraces is agreed as rapidly as possible in order that it can come into effect by the start of the main tourism season.

A meeting with opposition parties' representatives was scheduled for yesterday, there having been one with restaurant owners on Monday. They were asked to come up with an alternative proposal and to provide it by tomorrow.

One of the most contentious aspects of the bylaw relates to the space for pedestrians. The town hall's new ordinance is due to specify that a space with no obstacles cannot be less than 2.5 metres. The restaurants (and bars) want the current limit to be maintained. This is two metres, which might not sound like an enormous difference but could apparently affect up to 500 terraces and result in some of them being eliminated.

The restaurants argue that there should be flexibility in terms of application. They agree that in parts of the old centre there is "saturation" of the public way and that they might be able to agree to the 2.5 metres rule. Elsewhere, however, they believe that two metres should be the rule.

The bylaw will in principle forbid terraces in streets that are under 3.5 metres in width. Along calle Fabrica, which is one of the streets where there is most concern about the occupation of the public way and about noise from terraces, the bylaw would cut terrace space by a third.