Collboni has a hole in the superblocks

Three judges have condemned the Barcelona City Council for its botched urban planning process of the so-called superblock, the conversion of Consell de Cent street into a four-kilometer promenade to prevent cars from passing and the creation of four squares at the intersections of this road with Rocafort, Comte Borrell, Enric Granados and Girona streets.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
13 May 2024 Monday 05:07
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Collboni has a hole in the superblocks

Three judges have condemned the Barcelona City Council for its botched urban planning process of the so-called superblock, the conversion of Consell de Cent street into a four-kilometer promenade to prevent cars from passing and the creation of four squares at the intersections of this road with Rocafort, Comte Borrell, Enric Granados and Girona streets. All three sentences say the same thing. The City Council broke the law because the project required the modification of the General Metropolitan Plan (PGM) because “it means a paradigm shift with respect to how the urbanization of public space had been conceived,” according to the court order. The PGM was not intended to be modified and, furthermore, the judges exposed the Consistory's trap in executing the project consisting of breaking it up into several actions and considering them ordinary works, although they were not because they transformed the configuration of the largest district of the city.

There are 17 more complaints filed by five entities and associations that brought the crude municipal procedure to justice. In view of the results of the first three sentences, it seems that the rest will go down the same path of embarrassing the management of the City Council. The new government led by Mayor Jaume Collboni has had no choice but to appeal the sentences for corporatism towards his officials and because he was part of the coalition that made the decision, now condemned, in the previous mandate. But Collboni knows that he has a hot potato that could be very expensive because the sentences require those streets and squares to be restored as they were before the works that cost more than 50 million. To the cost of restitution to comply with the sentence, we would have to add the return of many more million European funds that were allocated to these projects. In short, a nonsense for the city that can still be avoided.

In fact, the judge who handed down the first sentence urged both parties, the City Council and the complainants, to agree on the execution of the sentence that was least harmful to the city. We work on this discreetly because the associations do not want to be forced to undo the work. They consider it outrageous, but they do want to resolve the negative effects on mobility that this project and other similar ones have left in the city.

Meanwhile, little is said about the assumption of responsibilities of the authors of such a botch. It is striking that the City Council violates the law at will and is ruthless with individuals who carry out everything from a small renovation to a flat development. The discussion does not focus on whether the space has been good, bad or average. Nor in the high cost of its maintenance, which someone should have foreseen and provided financially to avoid its rapid degradation. Not even in the skyrocketing increase in the price of housing and commercial premises in the area, with the consequent gentrification that the City Council itself wanted to combat. Nor is it that the neighbors of those spaces are very happy and are the envy of the neighboring streets.

It is by no means a question of insulting and pointing the finger, as has happened, at the five entities and associations that dared to take this matter to court because they saw a flagrant violation of the rules. It is curious that these same inquisitors have not issued any reproach towards the politicians and legal services who flouted the regulations following the Machiavellian principle of “the end justifies the means.” In short, it is about the fact that those who will end up paying the bill for this nonsense will always be the same, the citizens.