Amnesty for illegal builds

Illegal building being demolished

Illegal building Credit: shutterstock

Feelings are running high over the Balearic Government’s proposed and controversial “amnesty” for illegal builds.

The controversy centres around a decree of administrative simplification which is about to be passed, concerning buildings constructed without a licence on “rustic” land. This is not necessarily rural land but land that is not classified as urban, although in some cases it may be within or near towns.

Such properties, if legalised through the amnesty, will then gain in value and become the focus of new real estate and tourism investments.

Legal limbo

The President of the Balearic Government, Marga Prohens, has expressed a wish to pass the decree without waiting for the announced laws on urban planning and territory, on the grounds that the process is complex and is leading to long delays in resolving issues.

The owners of long-established illegal builds cannot carry out repairs or replace the roof under the present laws, nor legally have the property connected to mains water and electricity supplies, although many have found ways around this.

During a previous legislation run by the Partido Popular, plans were afoot to allow owners of illegal builds to pay a fine in exchange for legalisation. However, when the socialist party PSOE gained a majority in 2015 the plans were scrapped, and such buildings remain in legal limbo.

The GOB environmentalist association (Grup Balear d’Ornitologia i Defensa de la Naturalesa) is concerned that the new decree will encourage speculative investments on islands that “are already at their social and environmental limit”.

They say the soon-to-be-approved decree is effectively “rewarding the offenders”, and that the legalisation will considerably increase the market value of such properties.

Marga Prohens is determined to “facilitate new investment and a speculative onslaught” on islands that “are already at the social and environmental limit”.

Major changes are thus being rushed through and will have a serious ecological, territorial, agricultural and landscape impacts in Mallorca.

“The people who have not respected the laws, who have not paid taxes, who have not hired professionals and who have contributed to the urbanisation of rural areas with direct consequences on natural resources, such as, for example, the contamination of aquifers due to the lack of safe sources, will now see how the Government will award them the prize of legalisation”, criticised a spokesperson for the environmentalist association.

GOB requested an urgent audience with Marga Prohens on Thursday 22 March to address all these issues and demand social debate.

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Annie christmas in the Bay of Palma
Written by

Annette Christmas

Annie Christmas loves language and communication. A long-time resident of Mallorca, she enjoys an outdoor life of cycling, horse riding and mountain walking, as well as the wealth of concerts and cultural events on the island. She also plays fiddle in a traditional Mallorcan dance troupe.