Council of Majorca action is exception not the rule

The Council of Majorca has only imposed 123 fines for infringement of planning regulations since the year 1990, even though there are believed to be more than 30'000 illegal homes in the island. Responsibility for controlling illegal building in rural areas lies with the town and village councils, but despite this, the Council of Majorca has taken action in some cases. The arrival of the coalition government meant a shake-up in urban discipline. Up to 1997, the Council of Majorca had only imposed five fines. But the number started to increase from that year. Over the past ten years, the Council has opened 840 investigations into urban discipline. The Council's income from fines in this respect was only 673'201 pesetas in 1990, rising to 4.6 million one year later, and 8.2 million in 1997. It continued to increase to 104.7 million pesetas in 1998 and 125.5 million pesetas in 1999 before slipping down to 77.6 million pesetas last year. But the Council's intervention in these matters is the exception rather than the rule, as the responsibility lies with the town and village councils which often turn a blind eye to infractions, because it would be unpopular to impose a fine and order the demolition of a building constructed without permits. This is led the Council to announce an increase in its urban discipline services. Maria Antonia Munar, the Council president, has even proposed creating a new figure, a territorial ombudsman, who would regulate matters connected with planning, who can act when it is proved that the town councils' planning departments have not been carrying out their duties.

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