Former mayor José Hila and current mayor Antoni Noguera presenting their holiday rentals plan.

Palma town hall's zoning for holiday rentals will exclude apartments anywhere in the city. José Hila, the deputy mayor for urban planning, says that this prohibition is in order to preserve the right of access to accommodation for residents and workers and is being adopted because of pressures caused by tourist use.

The zoning decision also takes into account the vote taken at a council meeting last summer. The residents federation in Palma called for prohibition at that meeting and it was approved. Mayor Antoni Noguera says that the decision is one for the future of Palma, calling it pioneering and believing it will set a trend for "understanding the habitable city".

The town hall is following provisions in the government's legislation which allow island councils and the town hall to make zoning decisions and which also include the possibility of banning apartment rentals. The zoning in Palma is scheduled to be definitively approved in July.

PSOE, Hila's party, had been reluctant to go along with Més and Podemos and introduce a blanket ban, but Hila expains that PSOE councillors finally agreed to it through "loyalty" to the vote taken in July. He adds that limits on holiday rental apartment are being adopted in all European cities where there is high tourism pressure. Noguera notes that there is "nothing worse than a city where residents have to leave because they can't pay rents".

By contrast with apartments, holiday rentals will be permitted in stand-alone properties (and presumably semi-detached ones as well) anywhere in the city except on rustic land, around the airport and on industrial estates.

Habtur, formerly Aptur, the holiday rentals association, issued a statement yesterday expressing its profound disagreement with the decision. It says that the city will suffer as a consequence of the effect on incomes of apartment owners and because the complementary sector (restaurants, shops, etc.) will be harmed. The association warns that there could therefore be job losses.

It adds that since legislation was introduced last summer, the "non-regulated" supply of holiday rentals has decreased by a third but that the cost of renting has gone up by ten per cent. Tourism is not therefore responsible for this increase.

Habtur believes that the town hall is governing "for a few" and is neglecting a significant part of the population by refusing to even talk to the association about such important regulations.