Madrid’s Town Hall Votes Against Operación Chamartín

19 May 2016 – Expansión

The Town Hall of Madrid has taken another step in its crusade against Operación Chamartín, promoted by Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) – jointly owned by BBVA and San José – and has thereby buried the private initiative for the extension of La Castellana, backed by the previous PP regional government.

The latest chapter in the battle to control the development of the area in the north of the capital was written yesterday with the Committee for Sustainable Urban Development’s rejection of Operación Chamartín. Specifically, the Committee ruled out the project with votes from Ahora Madrid and the PSOE, its partner at the Town Hall.

By contrast, councillors from the PP and Ciudadanos parties, who are in favour of the project, voted against the proposal to deny the definitive approval of the Partial Interior Reform Plan promoted by DCN, included on the Committee’s agenda for the day.

The plans for Operación Chamartín were submitted at the beginning of 2015 by the previous Town Hall, the Community of Madrid and the Ministry of Development together with the development company, but it was not debated in the municipal Plenary because of the upcoming elections.

During the Committee’s debate, the PP councillor José Luis Martínez Almeida warned about the “criminal liabilities” that the Government team may incur for not basing its decisions on reports and for seeking to substitute a global agreement for the development of the north of Madrid with a 16-page plan.

Meanwhile, the Ciudadanos councillor Bosco Labrado asked the Government’s team to look for a real solution for DCN’s project.

By contrast, the PSOE councillor Mercedes González congratulated the Government’s team on the new proposal for the north of Madrid and asked that the minutes reflect that his political party vindicates Eduardo Manglada and all of the other people who have contributed to changing the city. He mentioned Eduardo Leira – the husband of the mayoress – and Enrique Bardají, amongst others.

The Committee’s rejection of DCN’s project, which still needs to go through the Plenary, comes a week after Manuela Carmena’s town planning team presented its own alternative for the development of the north of the capital, known as Madrid Puerta Norte, at a public meeting. .

The alternative project

These plans, amongst other things, drastically reduce the number of homes to be constructed, down from around 17,800 to 4,600, and cut the buildable surface area from 3,270,053 sqm, planned by DCN, to 1,750,197 sqm.

The Town Hall’s proposal, which was presented by the mayoress herself and by a representative from the Sustainable Urban Planning Department, José Manuel Calvo, has not been agreed with the Ministry of Development or the Community of Madrid, which together with the Town Hall own 82% of the affected land, or with BBVA and San José, the promoters of the plan and owners of the management rights over the land.

In order to understand the Town Hall’s plans at first hand, the Ministry of Development has called a meeting for this Friday to which it has invited the mayoress of the capital, the President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, contacts from the property developer DCN, and representatives from BBVA and the construction firm San José.

Sources at DCN declined to comment on the plans presented by the Town Hall as they are waiting to be provided with further information.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake