Number one on the list of novelties is the likely extension of the restricted hours

Number one on the list of novelties is the likely extension of the restricted hours.

04-12-2021AAVV FORMENTOR

There was an almighty cock-up this year in respect of the Formentor traffic restrictions. When it came to fines being issued, it was realised that the revised conditions hadn’t been published in the Official Bulletin when they should have been.

For two whole months, therefore (mid-June to mid-August), the traffic directorate was unable to dish out fines. Revenue lost, while it wasn’t entirely clear whose fault it was that the publication of the conditions wasn’t made on time, although the finger was waving roughly in the general direction of the Council of Mallorca.

Determined that there should be no repeat, the interested parties have been meeting to hammer out next summer’s restrictions and to consider the logistics. These parties are Pollensa town hall, the Council of Mallorca, the Balearic government and the traffic directorate.

Number one on the list of novelties is the likely extension of the restricted hours. The timeframe will probably remain the same - June 15 to September 15 - but unauthorised vehicles may well discover that they are barred from 10am to 10pm and not 10am to 7pm, as has been the case.

Pollensa’s tourism and environment councillor, Maria Buades, who also has responsibility for the local police, says that there were “scary” scenes last summer. Safety and the environment were being compromised because of all the people going to the mirador, the watchtower and the lighthouse after 7pm.

Part of the issue centred on excursion trips for people to take in the sunset. As I said back in the summer when this came up, there should have been some sympathy, as some of the usual summer excursions simply weren’t on offer. Going to Formentor had a lot going for it, until the authorities realised quite how many were going after 7pm. Excursions coaches, it also needs saying, haven’t been allowed between 10am and 7pm.

So, the later time looks as if it will be introduced, which I suppose will open the possibility of there being midnight excursions, but the authorities will trust not.

Decisions have to be made this month in order to ensure that revised rules are effective from mid-June. These sorts of thing apparently require publishing in the Official Bulletin at the start of a new year, which is what didn’t happen this year. Apart from the hours, the four institutions need to get their heads around whether or not there should be automated barriers, which may mean in Puerto Pollensa.

The bus service is also a consideration. Will it be possible to operate this after 7pm? Liaison will therefore be needed with the Mallorca Transport Consortium - the government and the Council of Majorca, but different departments - plus the concessionaire operator.

Then there is the whole business with parking by the hotel, the licence for which the town hall thought it had revoked (as from mid-June this year) in exchange for conditions attached to permission for the hotel’s redevelopment. The hotel thought otherwise and carried on regardless and earned a season’s takings that are now subject to legal review as to possible “undue income”.

Irrespective of who has rights to the car parking, there is the further complication of how drivers who are not authorised to use the road from Puerto Pollensa can escape being fined.

This is by forwarding an emailed copy of a receipt for a purchase to the traffic directorate (within three working days), a system which was not initially well publicised when the rules kicked in this summer. Not that this mattered in the end (in terms of fines), because someone had of course forgotten to publish the rules.

It’s a crazy system. There is parking. People want to go to the beach, and yet they are required, unless they get the bus or are on bikes, to retrospectively provide proof of purchase because they have driven on an unauthorised stretch of road as far as the hotel and beach.

There isn’t much time to get everything sorted out. We wait to see what they manage to come up with.

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