Can Bach in Pollensa - it has been used as a car park for years. | Elena Ballestero

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For some years, town halls have been asking the Council of Mallorca for regulatory change to allow them to legalise car parks they have on rustic land and create more if necessary. The town halls are aware that if the Council's agency for planning discipline (on rustic land) were to seal these car parks off, there would be parking chaos.

Pollensa's mayor, Tomeu Cifre, is one of the most vocal mayors in calling for greater flexibility in tackling the problem. At a recent council meeting, he said that if car parks were allowed on this land, there would be greater opportunity for installing solar panels. He is urging the Balearic government to declare non-urban land in the regional community interest and so facilitate the legalisation and creation of car parks that are typically away from urban centres.

However, neither the government nor the Council of Mallorca is showing any indication of agreeing to such a declaration. This said, the Council's territory department has amended the island's territorial plan in responding, up to a point, to the problems that municipalities are experiencing. This amendment has established the concept of "transition areas" that surround urban land. It can be used so long as there are solar parks.

The Council says, though, that this amendment isn't one for legalising existing car parks; it is in order to increase the installation of renewable energy sources. Town halls must deal with the regional ministry for energy transition in processing permits in accordance with the parameters established by the Council's territorial plan. Tomeu Cifre notes, "no one would dare to do it (create car parks) if there are no guarantees that the disciplinary agency won't interfere".

Meanwhile, the Council's mobility department is finalising plans that will enable thirty car parks to be built so long as they are linked to public transport. The councillor, Ivan Sevillano, explains that these are designed for parking cars in order to take public transport and that these car parks will have photovoltaic pergolas, electric recharging points and possibly also bike rental systems like BiciPalma.