Richard Branson at Son Bunyola in 2001.

14-01-2018Humphrey Carter

Jason Moore and I had the exclusive honour of being shown around Sir Richard’s Son Bunyola estate in 2001 while he was locked in a battle with the local mayor and environmental groups over his plans to develop the property into what he planned on becoming "the best eco resort in Europe".

He showed us around the estate and explained his project, a dream for the tycoon whose relationship with Majorca stretches back decades, an island he has never fallen out of love with. But he grew tired with the opposition to his project, even though the locals we interviewed welcomed the project on the grounds of the jobs it would create and wealth it would bring to the village.

Maybe Branson, as is his trait, was thinking ahead of his time. He wanted to restore the ground and the old castle main house to its former glory, in keeping with the surrounding landscape, in keeping with the local environment and preserving the exterior of the historic property, but his message failed to get through.

The brick wall was not coming down and he gave up wasting his precious time and effort and pulled out of the island, much to the disappointment of the tourist industry in general considering how he had helped to put the island on the map when he owned La Residencia Hotel in Deya.

Now, however, it appears that his project is just what the authorities want for the Tramuntana.

While he has always maintained two, now a third, luxury villas on the sprawling coastal estate and the grounds, in particular the olive groves etc., have been restored, little else has been done and a property now considered a listed building and part of the region’s natural heritage is rapidly deteriorating. The mayor of Banyabulfar, Mateu Ferra, believes it is high time to allow someone to come and save the property and create the jobs and wealth the mountain village desperately needs and since Branson bought the property back in 2015, the local authorities are more than willing to allow Sir Richard to go ahead with his eco plan, providing the project remains within the perimeters of the planning laws.

The Council of Majorca could have the ultimate say, but it is generally thought that it will not object, far from it. Having Branson back in Majorca will be a boost for the whole island and tourism in general, let’s hope it’s a smooth return.

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Suzy / Hace about 1 month

Sadly there are a number of people who are disillusioned with Mallorca. I can understand their views. People who have invested lots of their money have been abused. I am a property owner and I still love the island and won't let myself become bitter . I hope Branson succeeds and I hope the local people benefit. Mallorca is part of my life and I hope things improve in the future and tourists are treated with respect.

+8-

J smith / Hace about 1 month

While im not a branson fan entirely due to him flying the british flag etc and proclaiming to be british yet keeps his taxes and funds well away from the uk treasury, i hope he steers well clear of mallorca as said below he will never win and that island does not deserve any investment from anyone, after all they shafted everyone else with their made up draconian laws whilst spending all the money on stupid mounuments on roundabouts and the like. If i was branson i would get them to invite me there for a big lunch to discuss the plans have a nice long lunch then tell them to shove it and turn the whole estate into an animal park for all the poor mistreated animals on the island and have a load of happy donkeys walking around, could even name them after each member of the council. Donkey juan, donkey ferra? Hope he keeps his money well away from spain but hes no dummy im sure he will

+9-

Will / Hace about 1 month

We stayed in Banyalbufar last year. Lovely place and lovely people. One restaurant owner told us the village was declineing, due to lack of employment opportunities and no school. If Branson can create employment and attract tourists to spend locally than perhaps the village will prosper again.

+11-

Sheila / Hace about 1 month

Tom ,my thoughts exactly! Why would he trust a word they say? Theyll let him spend a lot of time and money doing the place up ,than tell him hes infringed some of their fantasy laws and refuse him a licence! Look what happened to poor old Boris Becker.Bankrupted by planners and retroactive laws!

+19-

Ron / Hace about 1 month

Agreed. If I was Branson I wouldn't touch this island again with a barge pole given the way he was treated. He should have sold up entirely. Seeing what this loony government does for free enterprise who knows there may be even worse round the corner, and they'll declare everything illegal. No wonder owners are selling up and getting out.

+15-

Tom / Hace about 1 month

Branson should stick two fingers up at Mallorca and teach the clowns a lesson about tourists , and he won’t make money from echo nutters ,

+7-