Protest against the demolition. | Nekane Domblás


Maleni Bonet, owner of the El Bungalow restaurant in Ciudad Jardín (Palma), says that she and her family are "very happy" with the town hall's approval to initiate procedures to list the restaurant in Palma's catalogue of emblematic buildings and thereby give it protected status. She describes the "unanimity" shown in seeking a solution as "almost poetic".

The restaurant is threatened with demolition under an order from the Costas Authority. Maleni Bonet adds that the town hall's approval is a way of preventing the demolition. "I am very grateful to all the political forces at the town hall. This will at least delay the demolition and give us more time."

The restaurant is in a beachfront house that was built in the 1920s. "Preserving the building comes first. It has a value in itself beyond being a restaurant. There is an emotional value, linked to our family and to the neighbourhood" She observes that an historian, Pere Galiana, has stated that "it is the oldest building in the neighbourhood, while the town hall considers it to be a house with traditional architectural elements".

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The town hall's approval followed weeks of mounting support for El Bungalow that has not been confined to local residents. The restaurant has become symbolic of the conflict between the Costas and owners of long-established beachside bars/restaurants and dwellings (and their many supporters) that has arisen in various parts of Mallorca.

The town hall has called on the Costas to adopt "precautionary measures" while it processes the listing. In other words, there is a demand for a temporary suspension of the demolition order. But as Maleni Bonet notes, this implies a delay to demolition. Does the town hall approval therefore mean a test as to whether this can definitively take precedence over an order issued prior to the initiation of procedures?

The owners had expressed hope that a transfer of powers for the coasts from the Costas to the Balearic government (which will take effect from July 1 next year) might lead to a satisfactory "local" decision. However, the environment minister, Miquel Mir, has made clear that this transfer will not alter cases such as El Bungalow.

Prior to the town hall's approval on Thursday, the environmentalists GOB had insisted that the demolition should be carried out.