The project in question would involve construction in a pine forest area of Cala San Vicente. | CCL

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When the Council of Mallorca recently established that its amended territorial plan would prevent the building of a hotel in Cala San Vicente, the argument about this hotel project appeared to be over. However, never let it be said that local planning regulations are simple matters. They are not, and it was naive to have believed that a mere territorial plan for the island would be the final word.

The project in question would involve construction in a pine forest area of Cala San Vicente. It has generated a great deal of heat, especially at the town hall, where opposition parties are dead against it.

In early December, the administration sent a request to the Balearic Environment Commission to assess the environmental feasibility of amending Pollensa’s planning in order to allow development of some 22,000 square metres. This request explained that the number of beds would be reduced from 274, a figure the Council of Mallorca has cited, to 245. In addition, it stated that the “most appropriate option” would be to maintain an “urban land” classification for the site, meaning that it would be developable. This option, the town hall administration argued, would be in the “municipal interest”.

The site is what is known as “false urban”, which is where planning regulations become more complicated than they normally are. Essentially, this refers to land which may indeed at one point have been classified as urban, in the sense that it can be developed, but which has not been consolidated. And by consolidated, that means provision of services.

The town hall maintains that the Cala San Vicente site has “basic urban services at a street level”, by which could be meant the existence of a road. These services are noted in the submission to the environment commission, which is effectively having to arbitrate between a town hall claim of “urban” and one from the Council of Majorca that is “rustic” plus protected landscape as well as simply land.

Over and above a matter of landscape protection is a question of whether Cala San Vicente needs another hotel or indeed whether Pollensa needs another one. The project, even with the reduced number of beds, would create, say the opposition Junts Avançam, the third largest hotel in the municipality after the Don Pedro in Cala San Vicente and the Pollensa Park in Puerto Pollensa.

It is a fair question. Arguably, given a comparative lack of hotel places in Pollensa - fewer than places for holiday rentals - there is a need. There again, does anywhere in Mallorca need another hotel? A point to be taken into account is that creating new hotel places means eliminating the equivalent number elsewhere - that’s the rule.

It may be felt that Cala San Vicente could benefit, but in the overall scheme of things any benefit is debatable. And would Cala San Vicente benefit? The town hall’s “municipal interest” would suggest yes. Others are saying and will say no.