Latest owner of La Fortalesa, Norwegian billionaire Ivar Tollefsen. | Archives


I’m pleased that the Alternativa per Pollença have been reinvigorated. It was misreported that they had disbanded when they decided not to stand at the municipal elections in May, but this reporting was perhaps understandable. An impression was that they had run out of steam, but breathing new life into the party has meant a return for Pepe García as coordinator.

I first got to know Pepe when the residents of Gotmar were having huge problems getting the town hall to address issues like the state of the roads; this must have been around 2008. Here were residents who, in all likelihood, would never have dreamt of voting for an anti-capitalist outfit such as the Alternativa, yet they were being assisted in challenging a town hall run by parties of the type they would have dreamt voting for.

A big thing for the Alternativa was town hall transparency. Pepe published his personal financial details at a time when no one at the town hall was doing this. A recent survey concluded that town hall transparency, under the now ex-administration, hadn’t improved a great deal. The Alternativa were a thorn in the town hall’s side, more so when the right were in power admittedly, but also unwilling to give the left a free pass.

Another big thing was defence of local citizen’s rights, which brings us to La Fortalesa, as the Alternativa regularly demanded that the public should be given access to the grounds. Back up and running, they are renewing this demand.

La Fortalesa is an asset in the cultural interest (BIC), which means that the public should be allowed to visit - at minimum - four days a month at times to be agreed. These visits would be to the grounds as opposed to inside the buildings. The Alternativa say that they have spent years calling on town hall administrations and the Council of Mallorca to enforce provision of Balearic law in respect of historical heritage, namely the minimum visiting rights. “We are tired of hearing excuses for breaking the law and we are tired of seeing that, while citizens are denied visits, there are no problems for weddings, parties and filming.”

The Alternativa want the Council of Mallorca’s heritage department to reach agreement with the latest owner of La Fortalesa, Norwegian billionaire Ivar Tollefsen. “No more excuses. La Fortalesa must cease being a BIC for VIPs.”

The most recent VIPs were footballer Marco Asensio and Sandra Garal getting married, one of a series of celebrity weddings at La Fortalesa, which has otherwise become well known for TV series location work: it was, for example, Roper’s house in the BBC’s The Night Manager.

The filming is one thing, but the VIPs are another. This exclusivity at the expense of the ordinary citizen is evidence of what just feels to be an ever-increasing divide in Mallorca, where celebrities, the wealthy and all their trappings are regularly paraded and yet represent a tiny minority.

I welcome the resurgence of the Alternativa, not because I have always agreed with them - far from it - but because they have always seemed to me to be a social conscience of Pollensa, a conscience needed now more than ever, as Mallorca becomes a place of ever sharper divisions predicated on a minority, many of whom have ties with the island that are loose, to say the least. And arranging visits to an asset in the cultural interest for the hoi polloi really shouldn’t be that difficult.

Solar energy in Sa Pobla
Agricultural land on which some 4,500 solar panels have been planned within walking distance of the houses.

Sa Pobla residents “defenceless” against solar park development

Residents and associations in Sa Pobla say that they have been left “defenceless” in opposing a solar park with some 4,500 panels on the Llubi road. This is because the town hall has failed to meet promises made at the start of July to appeal against the project and try to stop it.

The town hall, which has the same political complexion it had before the municipal election when it made clear that it had reservations about the project, may well have run up against problems caused by Balearic government and Council of Mallorca changes. There hasn’t, for example, been a meeting with the new director-general for energy transition, while the Council of Mallorca’s territory department doesn’t yet have an environmental impact report.