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Spotlight North: Puerto Pollensa motorhomes park – the Costas say NO

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Never far from the surface in Puerto Pollensa are issues involving the Costas Authority. The beach playgrounds were one recent example (the Costas backed down), and now we have the town hall’s idea for a motorhome park on what is described as a “dead zone” of land by the roundabout on the coast road.

The head of the Costas in the Balearics, Almudena Domínguez, has responded to a “news item” that appeared in April which concerned the idea for the motorhome park. A letter has been sent to the town hall, explaining that the parking of vehicles, camping and the provision of services are all prohibited on public maritime domain, which is clearly how the Costas define this dead zone.

Mayor Cifre has responded to the letter with surprise. He says that the town hall has been discussing the idea with the Council of Majorca’s roads department which, in principle, doesn’t see a problem. The Costas have made it clear that the land has nothing to do with the Council; it’s not theirs to give permission, it is the Costas.

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The mayor has also explained that the town hall has repeatedly raised the matter of this land with the Felib federation of town halls. It wants to know what sort of requirements the land must have in order for it to accommodate, for instance, a motorhome park. After the ring road was built, roundabout and all, it became a dead zone in terms of any useful purpose, but it was also dead from the point of view of land classification and so therefore what use it might be put to. The Costas have now in effect said that there can’t be any use, or not the use that the town hall envisages at any rate.

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Cifre’s motivation for having proposed a motorhome park was understandable enough. There is a need for one, and the need is just increasing because of a growth in the use of motorhomes as a result of Covid. The land in question has its specifics because it is right by the coast and so the Costas may well be fully justified in denying use. However, it is an example of how plans can run up against the complexities of land classification and who has responsibility for what. The Council of Majorca had not seen any problem, and yet the Council is normally as zealous as the Costas in stamping on any lack of planning “discipline”.

Meanwhile, it seems rather odd that the Costas should have responded on the basis of a news report rather than any formal approach from the town hall, which hasn’t been made. Moving from this dead zone land to the very much alive Formentor beach, and there is yet another Costas intervention. This one has echoes of the bar terrace elimination in Ses Casetes des Capellans (Playa de Muro) and also of the beach playgrounds in that a regional environment ministry report has prompted the Costas involvement.

Two terraces at Formentor beach, managed by the hotel, are destined for the chop. The Costas have not given authorisation for these terraces to occupy the public maritime domain; they do not meet environment ministry criteria apparently. In total, these two terraces occupy 390 square metres and have a capacity of 164. The town hall is seeking to ensure that they remain, criticising the “change of criteria”. The Costas have been authorising the terraces “for decades”. All of sudden, the authorisation is to be denied.

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