The expiry of the effects of the first licence, requested at the time by Agua Mágica, means that Unibail-Rodamco probably can’t recover and carry out the first project of 22 buildings that was planned on the Ses Fontanelles wetlands.
The Ses Fontanelles’ administrative document’s journey is long and complicated, and it still hasn’t come to an end.
With respect to the commercial licence (Balearic government):
A few months ago, we celebrated the TSJIB’s verdict rejecting the appeal brought by the French multinational Unibail-Rodamco, developer of the Palma Springs shopping centre on Ses Fontanelles, which requested the decision to deny the commercial licence to be declared void and, in addition, the sentence to pay the trial’s costs.
The Audiencia Nacional (National High Court) again agreed with the denial of the licence for a large commercial building, after which the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC in Spanish), relying on the Ministry for the Economy and via Abogacía del Estado (the state legal office), also brought an appeal against the Balearic government for having denied the licence.
This support for the arguments maintained by the Balearic government’s legal services, as much on the TSJIB’s part as the National High Court’s, has meant an important step towards the definitive protection of the last remaining wetland in Palma, although it’s not final.
With respect to the building licence (Palma City Council):
For its part, regarding the building licence, Palma City Council was processing two projects. The first one, presented initially many years ago by Agua Mágica, comprised 22 buildings plus underground and overground parking. This remained in limbo from the moment the new owner and developer, Unibail-Rodamco, presented a second proposal (known as Palma Springs). The council invalidated the licence at the time for having failed to meet a deadline for presenting documents.
The developer has tried in recent months to revive the first of the licences. In this way, it’s told various neighbourhood associations that it intends to resume the original project. Today, however, Palma City Council’s town-planning management took to the management board’s meeting the declaration of the expiry of this same licence’s effects due to the application of the LOUS (Ley de ordenación y uso del suelo), which makes clear that after six months of inaction, a licence’s effects become void by operation of law.
This fact, therefore, makes it impossible for the developer to recover the initial project, although it doesn’t make it impossible that once the building works (which have continued throughout the summer) are finished and the condition as a plot is achieved, the developer can present another one.
So, Ses Fontanelles still isn’t saved, but firm steps have been taken to move towards the paradigm towards which the politicians who aim to look out for general interest must also move, and recuperate and protect this last wetland in Palma.