Sant Elm, Mallorca. archive photo. | M. À. Cañellas

The Consell Consultiu has blasted the Ajuntament d’Andratx over it’s decision to terminate the beach concession contract for umbrellas and sunbeds at Camp de Mar and Sant Elm over an alleged breach of contract.

The concessionaire says the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to comply with its contractual obligations, which were followed to the letter without any problems during the first year of the 3 year concession, before the virus existed.

The Consultiu’s report states that it’s inappropriate for the Council to terminate its contract with Gallicant de Campos SL and questions the city council’s lack of sensitivity during at a time of such great difficulty, especially when the company had requested a temporary cancellation or reduction of the fee in order to continue providing the service.

The report also highlights the city council’s contradictions when justifying the unilateral termination of the contract, stating on one hand, that it recognises that mobility limitations and restricted access to beaches because of the lockdown "prevented the concessionaire from carrying out its sunbed and parasol service.” But on the other, insists that the company was obliged to provide the services that were not affected by the confinement, including the cleaning and marking of the beaches.

“The Consell Consultiu cannot share this last consideration, since the exploitation of the facilities is the main object of the contract, without which the principle of risk and fortune is to be assumed by the concessionaire,” states the report.

It adds that the concessionaire was prevented from putting out umbrellas and sunbeds in an "unpredictable and unavoidable" way because of the coronavirus lockdown and points out that cleaning and marking are not essential obligations.

The Ajuntament d'Andratx was heavily criticised in the report for not analysing the alternatives proposed by the concessionaire "in a more careful way" stating that, “the city council should have made more of an effort to assess, analyse and motivate in this specific case.”