‘The Clearing in the Forest’. This was the name given to the architectural plan for the transformation of the old power station in Alcanada. The year was 2007. The cost of the whole project - to create a museum of arts and sciences - was put at 21 million euros. The timing of this plan wasn’t the best. The financial crisis occurred and the project was shelved - definitively so some years later.
Ideas have come and gone ever since, Endesa’s preferred idea having been demolition. These ideas, including Endesa’s, have floundered for various reasons, one of them having been the time it has taken the Council of Majorca’s heritage department to decide whether to declare the power station an asset in the general interest.
Protection, of which there is already some (from Alcudia town hall), would be formalised by such a declaration, meaning that nothing could really be done with the power station other than preserving it for its industrial heritage. The preservation would assume restoration, the cost of which would be unknown, if it were to ever be undertaken.
The Council is now further delaying its decision. Having for so long seemingly been intent on giving the power station its maximum protection, it wants to wait to see what comes of a project that may well be blessed with EU Next Generation funds. When Brussels comes with shedloads of cash, even the heads of the heritage department can be turned.
This project has the title of Alcudia Tech Mar. The power station would be converted into, among other things, a sub-headquarters for the UN’s environment programme and a centre for the University of the Balearic Islands’ school of nautical engineering. Alcudia town hall is keen enough for this project to go ahead to have presented it to other town halls in the area - Tech Mar would be an international reference point in the western Mediterranean and feature the future European Centre for the Decarbonisation of the Sea.
So this is the latest plan, and given the possibility of benefiting from all the Next Generation funds that are sloshing around, there has to be every chance that it will succeed where others have not. What it would mean in visual terms, we have yet to find out, while we probably shouldn’t get over excited at the prospect of something suddenly being done with what, in 2016, Endesa wanted to be declared a ruin. There will always be the reports, the planning, the permissions ... .