Son Bou Hotels: a continuing saga

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The controversy of the Son Bou Hotels continues. One chapter closes and another opens.

As will be remembered, in 2017, the property company presented a project affirming two towers. As a result, GOB has been consulting the documentation relating to these two large existing edifices on the beach. They represent one of the worst impacts made on the landscape and occurred in the seventies at the beginning of the increase in tourism.

Of the documentation consulted, it was possible to verify that the hotels had never complied with the building licence conditions, especially appertaining to the dimensions of the plot. This lack of compliance would make the edifices illegal. The remodelling that should be carried out now to comply with current planning requirements would have a ground floor and two more floors. This is a unique opportunity to correct a historic error.

When it was known that in 2021 the promotors had presented a project for reorganising the plots, GOB asked to be able to consult the documentation. However, the Alaior Town Council denied access, with the argument that the processing was unfinished.

For the same reasons they also denied access to documentation that tried to legalise the case of seven illegal swimming pools in the Torre Vella agritourist hotel.

This shocking argument would mean that the public could not comment until things are resolved. Given that any administrative procedure usually takes many years, it was decided to try criminal proceedings. The Provincial Court of Palma has ruled to dismiss the complaint, though it accepts that there is a legal controversy.

The Court accepts that this controversy exists, against which GOB has brought as much legislative as judicial authority to the argument, but considers that, in any case, there is no evidence of an activity of “gross contradiction” to the Law:

“…in other cases, the Administration has justified its criteria based on legal precepts especially article 13 and 14 of the Law 27/2006 which regulate the rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters, and 14 of the Law 12/2017 of 29 December for urbanisation in the Balearic Islands.

The appellant certainly offers other laws and jurisprudence for an interpretation that could have a distinct meaning.

In short, there is legal controversy on the exact moment in which it is possible to access some specific administrative files. Resolution of the conflict is not up to this Jurisdiction to resolve, and of course there is no evidence of an activity grossly contrary to law.”

At the beginning of last month, GOB had asked again to be able to have access to the files concerning the hotels. Given that the interest of GOB is to be able to follow in detail administrative formalities as they evolve and given that many months have already passed since the Town Council’s refusal, it is inevitable that they should again ask to be able to consult the documentation and related resolutions of the reorganisation of the plots of land.

The answer until now received from the Town Council is  “given that it is considered that requested information affects the interests of third parties, the Town Council warns that it has given a period of fifteen days for the affected third party to make any allegations it deems appropriate”. The deadline is about to expire so we expect a reply shortly.

A new petition has been filed for consultation of documentation on the attempt to legalize illegal swimming pools.

GOB would like to thank the support it has received from many people who have funded the legal initiative. The lawyers will be studying the possibilities of an appeal.