The Poblat Gesa is in Alcanada

The Poblat Gesa is in Alcanada

08-05-2021MDB files

"This small development has been here for 50 years. It is a dismal collection of whitewalled cottages with green shutters, an open space that once had a small school and now has roads suffering inattention. It looks abandoned, and the people who live in the cottages that are still occupied are complaining about just that - abandonment by Gesa (Endesa). And there are suspicions as to what Endesa might have in mind for these tenants."

I wrote this in 2008. The Poblat Gesa is in Alcanada, right opposite the equally abandoned power station. It dates back to the same era as the power station. The architect Josep Ferragut was responsible for it, as he was for a great deal else - the Gesa building in Palma, for example. He also worked on marking out the project in Alcudia that was to become the City of Lakes, the largest purpose-built tourist and residential complex in Europe - which is what it was at the time.

All the residents of the Poblat were tenants. They worked for Gesa. The rot started to set in, so it was said, when Gesa was swallowed up by Endesa in the 1980s. Maintenance and upkeep fell off. It seemed obvious what the intention was. This became more obvious when Endesa started the process of trying to get rid of the tenants.

Back in 2008 there were still some tenants. They were the ones who were battling to keep the place looking half decent. Their neat little gardens were in stark contrast to the ugliness that had otherwise taken over. Squatters had moved in.

Endesa finally put the Poblat on the market in 2015. A Madrid-based developer bought it. The plan was for a luxury development. It still is, and Alcudia town hall formally gave its blessing at Thursday's council meeting. Councillor for urban planning, Joaquín Cantalapiedra, says that the process for granting the licence for work will take about a year. The time will depend on reports from various authorities, the Council of Majorca's territory and heritage departments already having given favourable reports.

The Poblat does have some protected status in that it is listed by the town hall. The development will have to respect the heritage. There are 29 dwellings in all - 14 are semi-detached, the other 15 standalone. There's a chapel, a chaplain's house and a building that used to be a social centre with a small casino. The developer had wanted to convert these into homes, but the Council of Mallorca has said no. The original elements have to be preserved.

It's a shame in a way, but on the other hand it isn't. The Poblat had fallen into such an appalling condition that something had to be done. So, some luxury properties will eventually emerge. But what about the view? That's a question about this development that surely still needs asking. The view is of the power station. If it were up to Endesa alone, it would be knocked down. And the developer probably wouldn't have any objection if it were to be.

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