The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, demanded on Wednesday, November 21, that the Government of Catalonia definitively approve the measure requiring developers to allocate 30% of the new flats they build to public housing.
Colau made this statement at a press conference held after the meeting of the Subcommittee on Urban Planning of Barcelona, a body dependent on the Government, was postponed. In this meeting, which was to be held on Wednesday, the final technical approval of the text would have entered into force.
The measure, a Modification of the General Metropolitan Plan (MPGM), was provisionally approved at the municipal plenary meeting for the month of September. This was the last municipal procedure that had to be completed. The text was then waiting to be given the final green light, which would have been done on Wednesday.
However, the mayor explained that in the last few hours the Department of Territory and Sustainability had doubts about the text and proposed changes. This surprised both the municipal government and the social organisations promoting the measure.
“We do not understand what is happening or what the message of the Government is with this delay and the proposal to cut down the text. It does not seem admissible or justifiable. It is unacceptable,” said the mayor.
Colau recalled that the Modification of the General Metropolitan Plan was passed by the City Council with all the relevant legal and economic guarantees and with a broad consensus, including the parties of the Catalan Government.
Therefore, she urged the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Damià Calvet, to hold an urgent meeting at the political level in the City Council in the coming days. The mayor has also set the deadline to approve the measure for December 5, when the next meeting of the Subcommittee on Urban Planning of Barcelona is scheduled.
“We do not want a formal 30%, we want it to be real, because we want residents to be able to stay in the city and not be pushed out by speculation,” the mayor said.
Colau has stressed that it is essential to complete the final technical procedure for the MGPM as soon as possible. “The Subcommittee is not a place to comment on the measure but to definitively validate a text that has passed all the procedures,” she said.
Since the text was provisionally approved at the plenary, the City Council has received 234 applications for major works licenses and 157 urban development certificates, a document that is required before requesting a license.
“The delay of the approval is already damaging the city. There are lost opportunities to apply the 30% and we cannot afford it,” lamented the mayor.
The postponement of the approval came only days after the Government of Catalonia announced its intention to cut its housing contribution to Barcelona by 3 million euros. “Obviously, we protested at all levels, and fortunately it has been rectified. We hope that there is now the same rectification,” complained Colau.