Santa Ponsa, a "mature" resort where there could be hotel conversion.


President Armengol has defended the decree of urgent measures the Balearic government approved last week, saying that the government has an obligation to intervene in order to prevent regional GDP plummeting by 30% and unemployment increasing by the same percentage.

The government is to inject 3,500 million euros, anticipating that this spending will generate over 30,000 jobs, but the contents of the decree have been greeted with criticism from environmentalists. Armengol said on Sunday that all criticism is welcome, as it helps in improving decision-making. She added that she intends speaking with organisations (such as GOB), insisting that the decree will prevent economic collapse and huge job losses.

Particular criticism has been reserved for provision to allow hotels to increase their built areas by 15%. This won't be for adding more places, but it could, for example, facilitate the building of more restaurant space. Hoteliers have welcomed this possibility, as it could assist in Covid protocols regarding social distancing.

The conversion of "obsolete" hotels into VPO social housing is another source of criticism, as this entails amendment of urban planning law that had been approved by the government. More flexible procedures will speed up construction work, with the need for licences no longer needed in many cases; all that will be required will be a declaration of responsibility by a developer.

Critics have suggested that conversion will merely lead to property speculation, despite the government having stated that that conversion will be for social housing. By implication, this means that the government will control prices for the sale and rent of properties. The proposal for this conversion had come from the Majorca Hoteliers Federation, but there is some criticism from within the hotel industry. This is because conversion would be limited to VPO and also to so-called mature resorts. There are only a few resorts which have ever been specifically and officially categorised as mature for administrative purposes. They include Playa de Palma and Santa Ponsa.

Antoni Noguera, the coordinator of Més, one of the three parties of government, has said that the decree demonstrates that Armengol's party, PSOE, is aligning itself with sectors that have traditionally been aligned with the Partido Popular (i.e. the hotels). On Sunday, Armengol stated that she didn't wish to comment on the statements of the coordinator of a party which is a partner in government.


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