"Rehabilitation can be a way of development and future." It was said by the Minister of Culture, Ángeles González-Sinde, during her visit to the Cabanyal de València in March 2010, when her Ministry paralyzed the Special Plan for Protection and Interior Reform (PEPRI) that opened up the seaside neighborhood to prolong the Blasco Ibanez Avenue. His words now resonate in the video that the Cabanyal-Canyamelar neighborhood association recorded of that visit and that this week they have spread again on their social networks, happy for the approval of the new Cabanyal Special Plan (PEC) in the Urban Planning commission of the Valencia City Council. The last step is for the DOGV to publish it and there will be no turning back.
Earlier, in the video that is now 13 years old, the neighborhood association talks about preparing a project for the "comprehensive rehabilitation of the neighborhood." This is how he explained it to the then minister, sitting at a table before a cloud of photographers and accompanied by Carmen Alborch, whose political work is still appreciated in the neighborhood movement. The now-defunct Valencian politician was summoned this Wednesday by former president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who participated in the act of celebrating the approval of the PEC within the campaign acts of the socialist candidate for mayor of Valencia, Sandra Gómez.
The neighbors toasted with the socialist politicians at the door of the La Estrella puppet theater, although they acknowledge that they hope to be able to celebrate after the elections this Sunday "a more institutional and collective act."
The PEC represents a turning point, or at least that is how it is conceived, since it proposes that the neighborhood “recover the sea”, with an urban planning in which “transversality prevails”, reads the text provisionally approved in January and that also converts the street in an environmental physical support and for fundamentally neighborhood use.
Another of its objectives is to "recover population", through the rehabilitation of existing homes and the construction of plots and the increase "in a limited way" of the housing stock, with special mention to those of public ownership, and if possible, on a rental basis. The neighborhood had 32,312 inhabitants in the seventies and today, according to municipal figures, there are 20,493 inhabitants.
The problem of access to housing is a concern in the neighborhood, as associations such as the Sindicat de Barri Cabanyal, Cuidem Cabanyal-Canyamelar or Cabanyal Horta have already denounced in this medium, neighborhood movements that denounce gentrification and touristification in an area of the city with more and more fashion for its gastronomic offer and its unique tourist image. Without going any further, this Friday the conversion of an old cooperage into a "kitchen market" is inaugurated and new spaces are being planned, such as a coworking or a hotel of the international Hilton chain.
In line with the policies carried out in recent years by the council, the PEC also projects the creation of three greenways, the limitation to 10% of tourist apartments per block, the protection of the seafront, the maintenance of the building typology of the neighborhood and the landscaping at the end of Avenida Blasco Ibáñez.
Precisely the award of this work enters the agenda of the local Government Board today, the last one before the elections on Sunday. The renovation, which will begin in the coming weeks as confirmed yesterday by the still Town Planning Councilor Sandra Gómez, will modify the layout of the road on Calle Serrería, diverting traffic to a new landscaped roundabout located between Avenida Blasco Ibáñez and Estación del Cabanyal , as an entrance to the neighborhood, and as the final auction of the avenue.
The PEC also states that new homes will be limited to a maximum of three heights and two in the special protection area, maintaining the construction typology, the facades, the heights, the patios and the ornamental elements. Once the plan is applied, the neighborhood will have more than 60,000 new square meters of green and pedestrian areas and more than 40,000 new square meters of public facilities.
The Special Plan provides for, among other things, the creation of high-rise car parks, the opening of shops other than restaurants in the premises of Avenida de Neptuno and the pedestrianization of this avenue. In addition, the neighborhood will gain a new civic center, already under construction, a day center for the elderly, a new employment center and a new school. There is nothing definitive about the hotel that has been talked about so much in recent weeks, municipal sources point out. The land on which it would be located is classified as tertiary, so it could house offices, a plausible idea taking into account the proximity of the Marina, the preferred destination for technology and ICT companies that are located in Valencia.