25 October 2016 – Expansión
Yesterday, the President of the Community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes (pictured above), submitted the draft bill for the new Law governing Urban Planning and Land in the Community of Madrid, an initiative long demanded by the Madrilenian real estate sector. The bill aims to clarify and organise the management of urban planning in the region, whereby replacing the existing regional Land Act, which dates back to 2001.
During its 15 years of life, the existing text has been partially modified 15 times, which, as the Ministry of the Environment, Local Administration and Land Planning itself admits, has ended up making it “difficult to understand and interpret”.
“Circumstances have changed considerably over the last 15 years and so the content of the Land Act has been completely distorted”, acknowledged Cifuentes yesterday during the presentation of the new draft bill. “This new law has been put together as a single piece of legislation to give coherence to the urban planning rules”, she added.
The regional Government plans to submit the Draft Bill to the Assembly before the end of the year and, according to Cifuentes, it hopes to obtain “the maximum consensus and support possible”. It is something that seems almost impossible, taking into account that eight months ago both the PSOE and Podemos left the technical and political tables that have been managing the text presented yesterday.
This was not helped either by the fact that Ciudadanos decided to put “an end” to these working tables in a unilateral way “to look for a new consensus”, according to an announcement last week from its spokesman in the Assembly, Ignacio Aguado. The orange party’s idea is to look for maximum political support to approve the law, and so it is advocating that the work of these tables be transferred to the specific report about the Land Act, which already exists in the Assembly.
“We want a Law that represents the consensus of all of the political groups and not another piece of steam roller legislation from the PP”, said Aguado. “Ciudadanos is going to fight to ensure that there is real citizen participation and genuine transparency in the way that urban plans are prepared. We want to put an end to the current opacity”, said the spokesman. (…).
In addition to the goal of making urban planning “more agile and transparent”, the Draft Bill presented yesterday by Cifuentes includes some important innovations. The most notable is its commitment to urban renovation and regeneration, compared with the model of expansionist urban planning under the previous legislation.
In this sense, one of the most innovative aspects is the fact that cities in the region will have the opportunity to undertake the renovation of large areas without the need to modify their General Plans. (…).
The new text retains the categories of urban land – buildable and non-buildable, but eliminates the category of unsectorised buildable land, which becomes non-buildable common land. Nothing can be built on this kind of land, under any circumstances, unless its classification is changed in the general plan upon request by the town halls themselves. “The aim is to achieve a more sustainable urban planning approach that avoids unnecessary urban planning developments”, say sources at the Ministry.
Other novelties include the creation of a Simplified General Urban Plan, designed for towns with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants and budgets of less than €6 million. Those towns may choose to adopt this framework, which is more flexible and agile than an ordinary plan, provided that the work focuses on historical centres and does not include any new developments. This framework may be applied to almost half of the 179 municipalities in the region.
Original story: Expansión (byLuis M. De Ciria and Carlota G. Velloso)
Translation: Carmel Drake