24 February 2016 – Expansión
The Town Hall of Barcelona will not grant any more licences to permit homes to be used for tourism purposes in the Catalan capital and will only allow new hotels to be opened in the suburbs. At least that is according to the plan that the municipal government, led by Ada Colau (pictured above), which holds a minority, presented yesterday and which it is planning to adopt albeit preliminarily on 10 March. A period of public consultation and citizen participation will open on that date.
In order to achieve a “natural decline” in (the number of) hotels, hostels and B&Bs in the most central neighbourhoods, Colau is suggesting that, when businesses close, they should not be reopened again. This limitation will affect the districts of Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Gràcia, Poble Sec , the area surrounding Park Güell and Hospital de Sant Pau, as well as Vila Olímpica. In other words, neighbourhoods that are home to more than half of the city’s supply of tourist accommodation.
By contrast, licences will be granted in a second group of neighbourhoods, such as in Sants, Sant Gervasi, Sant Martí, the south of the Sant Andreu district and El Clot. And new hotels may be opened in the neighbourhoods to the North of the city, as well as in those that are undergoing urban development, namely: la Sagrera, 22@ and La Marina de la Zona Franca.
Moreover, new hotels may not be opened in buildings destined for residential use or in streets that are less than eight metres wide.
This proposal, which comes after an annual moratorium that has prohibited the construction of hotels, will be debated tomorrow by industry players, who yesterday rejected the intentions of Ada Colau and her team. The Hoteliers’ Guild asked that continuity be given to projects that have already been approved and affected by the moratorium, and it defended that “hotel growth” be allowed in the city by consensus.
Meanwhile, the Association of Tourist Apartments in Barcelona (la ‘Asociación de Apartamentos Turísticos de Barcelona’ or Apartur) said that “the worst way to fight against the illegal supply (of tourist accommodation) is to freeze licences” and it urged Colau to change her plans.
Original story: Expansión (by David Casals)
Translation: Carmel Drake