Caledonian Plans to Double its Investments with New Projects Worth €150M

10 March 2019 – Expansión

The property developer Caledonian is planning to carry out projects worth more than €150 million in 2019, an investment that will double the amount of the projects announced by the firm to date.

The President of the company, Enrique López Granados (pictured above), highlighted that his firm’s most recent projects include the renovation of a complex of properties that are going to be dedicated to housing and which are located on Calle Javier Ferrero in Madrid, in which his firm has invested between €80 million and €90 million.

The company has also applied for a licence to build a luxury office building in the north of Madrid, next to the CNI’s headquarters, which will involve an investment of €20 million.

Meanwhile, the firm is currently working on a luxury development comprising 16 homes in Aravaca (Madrid), as well as on some smaller projects, for example, in Ibiza.

Despite Caledonian’s commitment to Spain, López Granados expressed concern regarding the impact of the political uncertainty in the country and criticised Town Halls for taking too long to process construction permits.

Original story: Expansión 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

New Urban Planning Law Permits Legalisation of 350,000 Illegal Homes in Valencia

18 January 2019 – Valencia Plaza

Last Wednesday, the plenary of Les Corts approved a modification to the law governing ‘Territorial Planning, Urban Development and the Landscape’ in the Community of Valencia, better known as Lotup (‘la ley sobre Ordenación del Territorio, Urbanismo y Paisaje’), with votes in favour from the PSPV, Compromís and Podem. It is an update to legislation that, amongst many other issues, will allow the situation of around 350,000 homes constructed illegally right across the region to be legalised, according to figures published by the Generalitat Valenciana itself.

It is a controversial but necessary state of affairs, in the opinion of the Executive, which is supported by three political parties and which defends the need to give some order to a scenario inherited from previous legislatures through this initiative, as reported in Thursday’s edition of La Razón in Valencia.

When asked about the details, sources at the Housing Department explained to Valencia Plaza that these “homes, which were constructed on the margin of administrative approvals on non-developable land”, are characterised by the fact that “they lack certain basic urban services, in particular, sewerage systems”.

“After these buildings had been constructed, the passage of time since their construction gave rise to the expiry of the period for the Administration to act against them. And the legislation is lacking in terms of its ability to respond to this reality (…)”, they indicate.

According to their warnings in this regard, “the existence of these homes has an effect on the environment: the clear deterioration of the landscape that they generate and the dumping of wastewater into the subsoil without any controls or treatment, which is affecting the underground aquifers, the elimination of plant species (…) and the fragmentation of habitats”.

Individual processes for homes built prior to 2015

As a result, they highlight that “beyond safety, health and public aesthetics considerations”, the buildings and land “on any kind of land and whoever the owner”, must be conserved and maintained”, in accordance with the environment in which they are located and in accordance with the rules established by the urban planning legislation for them”.

For this reason, the reform of the law allows these residences to be legalised, although it limits itself “to buildings completed before the entry into force of Lotup (in 2015) (…)”.

According to the Housing Department, the legalisation of these homes “could be performed on an individual basis”, and they may be eligible for it “in all cases regardless of whether or not they have a file open”. Of course, provided they fulfil the requirements stipulated for it.

Solution to the ghost PAIs

Beyond that question, the update to Lotup seeks to provide a solution to the ghost PAIs. The reform reflects that in the case of urban planning projects that have been started but which have been suspended and which may have some viability, Town Halls have the option of dividing the sectors into smaller execution units so as to carry them out, step by step, and it extends the term to 10 years.

For those PAIs that are “anti-economic”, and which may be reversible, an inverse Reparcelation may be applied to return the plots to the previous legal situation and, therefore, remove the burdens on owners (…).

Original story: Valencia Plaza (by Dani Valero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Locare RE & Tectum Join Forces to Promote 1,000 Rental Homes

23 October 2018 – El Confidencial

The real estate manager Locare RE and the company Tectum Real Estate Investments are going to promote more than 1,000 long-term rental homes in the Community of Madrid and the main provincial capitals, which will require an investment of more than €120 million over the next two years.

Currently, they have three developments underway in the Madrilenian towns of Móstoles, Collado-Villalba and Torrelodones, which comprise 405 homes in total and whose entry into operation is scheduled between 2019 and 2020, as indicated in a statement.

In this sense, both have underlined that, given the scarcity of residential land, they are exploring and developing opportunities for differentiation in the sector by promoting contractual schemes involving public-private collaboration.

The aim is for these alliances to reinforce their vocation of long-term permanence, on the one hand, and to provide appropriate instruments to collaborate with the Public Administrations, especially with the Town Halls, on the other hand, in order to increase the stock of rental housing without those bodies having to commit to public investment.

This initiative is being launched in a favourable market context given the growing demand for rental housing and the shortcomings of the current residential rental stock in Spain’s main cities (…).

Original story: El Confidencial 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Castilla & León Reclassifies 28,315 hectares of Buildable Land Back to Rural Use

6 October 2018 – El Confidencial

Torquemada in Palencia has 989 inhabitants and sufficient buildable land on which to construct 162,000 homes. Coca in Segovia has 1,863 inhabitants and sufficient buildable land on which to construct 114,000 homes. Valladolid capital has 299,715 inhabitants and sufficient land on which to construct 217,293 new homes. They are just three simple examples of the urban planning absurdity seen in recent decades that is still present in almost every municipality in Spain.

Since the 1980s, and especially since the beginning of this century, town halls, in particular those in rural areas, have reclassified thousands of hectares of rural land to buildable land, on mass, in the hope that, during the boom times there would be a bureaucracy saving for the property developers, which would encourage them to invest, in both homes and industry. But the bubble burst (…) and thousands of buildable hectares were left over, converted today in a kind of weird joke.

Now, the Junta de Castilla y León wants to recover all of that land to return it to what it always was, agricultural and forestry land without any pretensions of being home to long rows of terraced houses or enormous industrial estates. The regional government has established three phases for the change of its land uses on mass.

It undertook the first phase in 2016, converting 10,000 hectares, and on 18 October this year, it will undertake the second phase, affecting 28,315 hectares, equivalent to half of the island of Ibiza or more than half of La Rioja. In total, 87 municipalities including several provincial capitals with capacity for one million potential homes that will now never see the light. The final mass change is planned for 2022. Goodbye then to the reckless optimism of the past; hello to a different future, one characterised by depopulation, which threatens to erase thousands of towns from the map (…).

“This is not Marbella, it was never realistic to think that large companies or property developers were going to come here to build homes. We have an industrial estate with five companies and we have lost 100 inhabitants in the last five years. A town cannot work miracles”, explains Jorge Domingo González, mayor of Torquemada, the rural municipality most affected by this second wave, which will modify 208 areas in Castilla y León (only 45 of them are industrial plots of land) on the basis of the urban planning law approved in 2014. “All of that land was reclassified not to build homes but to facilitate investment (…)”, explains the mayor of Torquemada.

Even so, many mayors did take advantage of the change to approve large residential developments, always under the suspicion, and sometimes rightly so, that they were going to be built with the sole objective of speculation and receiving an illegal bonus. That is where hundreds of ghost urbanisations in the middle of nowhere stemmed from; many are half-built, some even lack roads, but all have now been converted into a burden for municipalities, which do not have enough money to demolish them (…).

The town halls will not see any great benefits from this measure, but the owners of the land will do, since they will save a decent amount by no longer having to pay IBI (property tax) on urban land but having to do so on rural land, which is much cheaper. “In this way, we avoid uncertainties that have no sense in being maintained”, said Marinero…..

There is no record of any owner submitting claims against this change of use, although they have had four years to do so. That in itself is a clear sign that times have changed and that no one in the towns expects to win the lottery. If anything, they now just dream of not disappearing, to avoid being dragged away by the rural exodus.

Original story: El Confidencial (by David Brunat)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry of Finance Prepares an IBI Hike that will Affect 1,200 Town Halls in 2019

1 October 2018 – El Independiente

The Ministry of Finance has already prepared the list of town halls that will review the cadastral values of their urban properties in 2019. That list includes almost 1,200 town halls, equivalent to 15% of the total. That is according to an Order published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) on Saturday, which also reveals that the update coefficients will be established in next year’s Budget Law, which the Government has not presented yet.

Therefore, despite not having published its annual accounts yet and with the threat that, once they are published, it may have to adopt a more restrictive public deficit path, thanks to the situation it inherited from the previous PP Government, the ministry led by María Jesús Montero has published the mandatory order proposed in the Law to apply possible cadastral value rises that will impact the amount raised by Town Halls through taxes such as the Property Tax (also known as the ‘Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles’ or IBI).

The town halls affected include Badalona (Barcelona), Cádiz, Santander, Guadalajara, Avilés (Asturias), Granada, Huesca, Lorca (Murcia), Coslada (Madrid), Las Rozas (Madrid) and Valencia.

The State’s annual accounts for 2019 are incognito and so it remains to be seen how this review of cadastral values is going to be instrumented.

Moreover, by virtue of the coefficient that is applied, the cadastral value of any given home may increase or decrease. The reason is that the coefficients are established on the basis of the year of entry into force of the last presentation of municipal values, which is basically the document that contains the criteria that are used to carry out the most recent valuations in the region.

Currently, the price per metre squared of private homes amounts to €1,587.9, the highest value since the second quarter of 2012, according to data from the Ministry of Development, which bases its figures on appraisal values.

From this perspective, in general terms, homes valued since that date will have increased in value, whilst those valued between 2008 and 2012, will have decreased. On the basis of the years of entry into force of the values, around one third of the municipalities included on this list belong to the latter group.

A decrease in the number of reviews

The cadastral value of a home is the reference value on which taxes are paid on it at a municipal level for purpose of the Property Tax (IBI), which is one of the main sources of financing for Town Halls.

In this way, unless town halls decide to introduce changes in the tax, bonuses or exemptions, increases in the cadastral value of properties typically mean a heavier burden on the pockets of citizens and, in parallel, more revenues for the town halls.

In order to carry out this review, the interested town halls must make a request each year to apply the coefficients that they establish. To do that, three requirements must be fulfilled: at least five years must have passed since the entry into force of the cadastral values resulting from the previous valuation; there must be substantial differences between the market value and those that serve as the basis for determining the cadastral values; and the town hall must file its request by 31 May.

Having fulfilled those criteria, 1,200 town halls have requested a cadastral review next year, which represents a 14% decrease compared to the number recorded last year. Moreover, that figure equals almost half the number recorded in 2007, when up to a third of all town halls, around 2,500, proceeded to apply new coefficients (…).

Original story: El Independiente (by David García-Maroto)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Málaga is the Province with the Third Highest Cadastral Values in Spain

25 June 2018 – Diario Sur

The real estate bubble burst a decade ago, but the effects of the boom that the property sector experienced before the crisis are still reflected in the cadastral values of the assets in the province, a circumstance that would not be so important, if it wasn’t for the fact that this variable is the one that the administrations use to set the tax rate for the state (IRPF and property), the region (Sales and Transfers) and municipalities (IBI and capital gains). Although in recent years, those values have been corrected downwards to reflect market prices, the reality is that the strong pull of the Costa del Sol places Málaga in third position in the national ranking of Spain’s highest cadastral values. Together, the 1.45 million properties registered in the province have a total value of €114.1 million, which translates into an average of €78,598 each.

That average, which is well above the national average (€59,424), is exceeded only by the Community of Madrid (€115,779) and the Balearic Islands (€81,234), and comes ahead of Barcelona with an average €76,944. According to statistics managed by the General Directorate of the Cadastro, the differences are also more than considerable compared to other provinces of a similar size, such as Valencia (€51,271), Zaragoza (€66,914) and Sevilla (€55,397), as well as with other predominantly tourist areas, such as Alicante (€45,481), Las Palmas (€64,054) and Tenerife (€56,601).

The trend in recent years has been downwards after the peak of 2013 (€90,770 on average), although the current figures are still a long way from the €49,921 that was registered in 2006. That reduction is the result of the updates to the cadastral figures that are being made in most municipalities, be it because they are due because ten years have passed since the last update, or because the Town Halls have requested them once five years have passed and provided substantial differences exist vis-à-vis market prices (…).

Whilst the differences are notable between different parts of the country, if we zoom in on the province of Málaga, we also see significant variations between the 103 municipalities that comprise the province, where the average is €78,600. The western coast takes the biscuit with Benahavís in the lead, with an average of €154,770. That figure doubles the average for Málaga capital (€70,201) and is explained by La Zagaleta, the most luxurious urbanisation in Europe. Although clearly not all of the properties in this municipality of barely 7,350 inhabitants have the same value, the 14,437 properties there have a combined value of €2.2 billion, placing it above cities such as Antequera and Ronda in the ranking even though those towns issue twice as many receipts (29,415 and 25,403, respectively).

Just behind Benahavís is neighbouring Marbella, with an average of €125,350, and other towns in the area such as Ojén (€103,790), Mijas (€96,780) and Manilva (€90,960). Alhaurín de la Torre also sneaks into the top of the ranking, whilst on the next step down are other municipalities on the west coast such as Benalmádena (€88,040), Estepona (€80,440) and Fuengirola (€79,090).

Original story: Diario Sur (by Francisco Jiménez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Treasury Requires Tourist Rental Platforms to Submit Quarterly Informative Returns

1 March 2018 – Expansión

The Government wants to put a stop to the fraud that is happening in the emerging market for tourist apartments. To this end, it is going to intensify the inspection of companies dedicated to the transfer of use of flats, such as Airbnb, HomeAway, HouseTrip, MyTwinPlace, Only-apartments, IntercambioCasas and Rentalia. For that, it is going to require them all to provide much more information and it will conduct a quarterly control of all of their activities. Through this, it wants to improve the “prevention of tax fraud for people and entities, in particular, the so-called collaborative platforms that mediate the transfer of use of homes for tourist purposes”, according to the draft ministerial order designed to put a stop to these kinds of irregularities, to which Expansión has had access. The text approves the so-called “model 179 informative declaration”, together with the conditions and procedures for presenting the required information before the Treasury.

The measure forms part of the strictest control that the Treasury wants to exercise over intermediaries in a rising sector, such as the tourist rental market, which has experienced a genuine boom in recent years and which now has 513,820 beds, 30% more than the sum of Spain’s hotels, hostels and B&Bs (393,838), according to data from Exceltur.

Until now, some of the main initiatives have been directed at users themselves, such as the warning issued last year by the Tax Authorities to more than 21,500 people that had leased their homes through these platforms, advising them that they must declare the money received in their tax returns.

The Treasury wants to close the door on the lack of transparency surrounding certain tourist rentals, behind which are sometimes even hotel chains, which lease homes through the platforms, and are in turn disguised as private users.

As a result, the ministerial order that the Department of Tax Management at the Tax Authority has prepared, emphasises certain concepts that may seem obvious, such as the importance of identifying the owner of the home or of the right “by virtue of which use of the dwelling is transferred”, if that is different from the rightful owner of the home. Moreover, all of the features of a property must be identified. Together with the general registry information, the specific details of each one of the operations that are carried out must be reported: the number of days during which a client leases the home and the price paid to the owner in exchange for its use.

This new order from the Treasury comes in addition to local legislation from many Town Halls such as those of Barcelona, Madrid and the Balearic Islands, which have proposed “ceilings” to stop the overheating of rental prices that has resulted from the boom of Airbnb and similar platforms. In fact, according to calculations from Urban Data Analytics for this newspaper, the upwards trend from the collaborative economy has caused rental prices to rise by an additional 6% in the Eixample district of Barcelona and by an additional 4% in the Centro district of Madrid in one year. That happens because the properties in question generate double the returns of a long-term rental property “A 40 m2 one-bedroom home in the Puerta del Sol area of Madrid generates €1,513 per month on Airbnb and a traditional rent of €700”, says the company by way of example.

Grace period

(…) This ministerial order (…) will apply to all transfers of homes for tourist purposes that take place on or after 1 January 2018.

The frequency of these returns to the Treasury will be quarterly (they must be submitted during the calendar month following the end of each quarter). But this year, in order to facilitate the process, those corresponding to the first two quarters of 2018 may be submitted up until 31 December 2018. Those corresponding to the third and fourth quarter will have to be submitted before 31 October 2018 and 31 January 2019, respectively (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Large Cities Are Running Out of Land for New Homes

18 February 2018 – La Vanguardia

Spain’s large cities, led by Madrid and Barcelona, are running out of developable land on which to build homes, primarily due to administrative obstacles, according to experts, who warn that this shortage is pushing up final prices.

The urban planning regulations establish very long turn-around times and are very rigid when it comes to changing the use of land to be able to adapt plots to the demands of citizens, according to the Managing Director of the property developer association Asprima, Daniel Cuervo.

Moreover, the political changes in the town halls typically involve changes in the development plans for cities, which means more delays in the land management process.

In his opinion, the regulations need to be simplified, to make them more agile, and legal certainty needs to be strengthened.

Cuervo has advocated placing the responsibility for large city urban planning in the hands of a body of independent experts who would decide what is best for citizens, without their decisions being affected by political ideologies.

Currently, in Madrid, there is developable land ready for the construction of around 20,000 homes, according to Cuervo, who points out that, although there are lots of plots, they cannot be used because they have “legal problems” and are indivisible, which complicates their use as sites for house building.

“In Madrid and the metropolitan area of Barcelona, there is land under development but the political decisions of the town halls to suspend urban developments is leading to an increase in the prices of buildable land and, therefore, in house prices”, he added.

The President of Quabit, Félix Abánades, underlines that the shortage of land and tensions in prices “are happening only in certain areas of the large cities” and recalls that, currently, the average price of land is less than half the value it reached in 2007.

“In general, as property developers, we are being more rigorous in our purchases”, said Abánades, who indicates that Spain currently has enough buildable land for approximately 1.5 million homes.

At the current and forecast rates of construction, “that land will supply the market for the next 8 to 10 years”, but in some very specific areas, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga, Bilbao and certain coastal towns, land needs to be developed as a priority.

In his opinion, if there is a shortage of land today it’s because, during the years of the crisis, all of the urban planning management processes were suspended. Moreover, “absolutely essential” projects are still being blocked in cities such as Madrid, including the Castellana Norte project and several developments in the south-east of the capital.

“It is essential that the administrations streamline urban land management, and facilitate and promote the processing of new urban plans”, he said.

Property developers are facing enormous difficulties in the generation of buildable land and there is a paradox in that the areas with the most acute shortages of land are precisely those where demand for housing is highest. Ultimately, that is hurting buyers the most because homes are becoming more expensive, according to sources at Neinor Homes.

The stoppage caused by the crisis led to a mismatch between the creation of buildable land by the authorities and the absorption of that land by the property developers, say sources at the property developer.

“It should be possible to reach an agreement between the politicians, businessmen and technicians to enable a more efficient way of managing the land”, according to Neinor.

The CEO of Aedas Homes, David Martínez, added that, as demand recovers and the stock of homes decreases, inflationary tensions are arising in terms of the available land.

The urban transformation process in Spain (from land not suitable for development to developable land) is tremendously complex, causing processing times to lengthen beyond what is “reasonable and desirable”, increasing the investment required to build homes (…).

Spain is a country where new-build homes suffer from “lots of administrative obstacles” says the Head of Research at Pisos.com, Ferran Font, who laments that the municipal administrations do not facilitate the creation of suitable new products for the consumer, given that they forecast less demand, which, in turn, puts upward pressure on second-hand house prices.

To avoid that “it would help to have greater openness and more dialogue on the part of the municipal administrations, given that new build properties could help to decongest the most central districts of our cities and move pressure away from them towards peripheral neighbourhoods, whose expansion is being compromised by excessively slow decision making”, he added.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Social Housing Tenants Can No Longer Buy Their Homes In Madrid

22 June 2017 – El Confidencial

The Community of Madrid will abolish the framework that allows tenants of social housing properties to be granted an option to buy their homes. In other words, those who wish to access a subsidised home may now only do so on a rental basis or as owners, but they may not rent and then subsequently purchase the home that they have lived in as tenants, in a change to the legislation applicable until now. That is according to the draft bill that will be presented today in the plenary session of the Assembly of Madrid and which will grant tenants greater guarantees in the event that their homes are transferred or sold to a third party.

According to José María García Gómez, Director General of Housing and Renovations at the Community of Madrid, this decision is motivated by “the change in the cycle that the housing market in Spain has experienced, which means that in some areas of Madrid, the price of private housing is less than the price of social housing. Nowadays, this option is not as attractive, it is a system that has been made obsolete and which goes against the real estate cycle, hence the decision to eliminate it”, he added.

In fact, according to data from the Community of Madrid, “only 10%-15% of those who choose to rent with the option to buy end up exercising that right. In some cases, this happens because the tenants are unable to obtain financing, but in other cases, it is because they prefer to continue to rent”, he said. “The majority are renewing their rental contracts, whilst others have left their homes”.

According to sources at the Community of Madrid, the new measure will enter into force once it has been published in the Community of Madrid’s Official Gazette – the plenary session will be held today, where the measure is expected to be approved – but the same sources clarify that it will not affect those developments or plots of land that have already been granted that classification.

No more sales of subsidised homes to vulture funds

The new rules will also include two changes that are intended to protect tenants. To understand them, it is necessary to explain that although some subsidised homes are owned by the town halls and regional governments, others are owned privately (…).

When homes are owned by the Community of Madrid, they may not be sold to third parties other than the tenants or their successors. However, according to José María García Gómez, “the intention of the government led by Cristina Cifuentes (pictured above) is that not a single social housing property be sold. Nevertheless, in the event that a decision is taken to sell, then the tenants would have the right of first refusal. In other words, they would have preference over any other buyer”, he explained. “The idea is to avoid selling off public assets”.

By contrast, in the case of homes that have been constructed by private developers, the new law establishes a preferential acquisition right for legal entities with “a recognised commitment to the management of subsidised housing for social purposes, with the obligation for the new owner to abide by the conditions, terms and maximum rents established, subrogating the rights and obligations (…)”.

These measures will prevent these subsidised homes from ending up in the hands of the so-called “vulture funds”, for example, like has happened in the past (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cifuentes Presents New Land Act For Community Of Madrid

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. (…).

New elements

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