Temporary terraces by Plaça dels Patins. | Pere Bota


Bar owners in Palma's Plaça Bisbe Berenguer Palou (popularly known as Plaça dels Patins) have presented an appeal against the town hall decree which denies them licences to occupy the public way (with terraces) in car parking spaces in front of their establishments.

The bars were informed by town hall letter in July that they would have to take their tables and chairs away. The town hall explained that its authorisation for temporary terraces to allow for social distancing didn't apply in some instances, such as in squares or pedestrianised areas where space for pedestrians would be reduced.

In the case of these bars, however, the terraces aren't in the square itself but by the pavements to the sides of the square. The town hall's director-general for internal government, Marcos Cañabate, has accepted that the situation with the bars is "peculiar" but has insisted that the decree is not open to interpretation.

A firm of lawyers has presented the appeal in the name of the company which runs one of the bars, El Barito, and on behalf of others. The appeal states the bars are complying with all the conditions set out in the special regulation for occupation of the public way. It maintains that the reference to limitations for occupancy of car parking spaces in squares or pedestrianised areas is only in the decree's preamble and not in the operative text.

For this reason, the appeal demands that occupancy of the public way in car parking spaces is agreed, while it goes on to say that the regulations are not being interpreted correctly by the town hall because of the location of these spaces. In the event that the appeal is not accepted, the document sent to the town hall indicates that there will be legal action. This will be based on a denouncement of "prevaricación", referring in this instance to the arbitrariness of the denial of the use of the public way, which is "knowingly" unjust.