Granadilla de Abona Joins Calls to Designate as Stressed Residential Area

Granadilla de Abona’s City Council, in a plenary session this Wednesday, approved a motion urging the Government of the Canary Islands to declare the municipality a stressed residential market area under Law 12/2023, of May 24, for the right to housing approved by the Spanish Government. The motion was presented by Mayor Jennifer Miranda (PSOE) and unanimously approved by all political groups.

The city council stated that “the primary goal of this declaration is to continue implementing a variety of tools to address the severe housing issue faced by Granadilla de Abona, focusing on the social role of housing by establishing affordable rentals to alleviate the financial burden that many citizens face when paying their rents.”

Miranda identified the cost of housing as the “main issue experienced by the population of Granadilla de Abona.”

Once the application is submitted, if the conditions as set out in the law are met, it will be the Government of the Canary Islands, as the competent authority, that will conduct an assessment to determine if the expenses for rent or mortgage payments exceed 30% of the average income of Granadilla families. If these conditions are met, residential areas meeting these criteria may be designated as stressed areas.

This request adds to other initiatives undertaken by the municipal government, comprised of PSOE and PP, such as unlocking nearly 300 homes in the Los Hinojeros area of Granadilla town, and allocating over 3,000 square meters to the Canary Housing Institute for public housing construction.

Removal of 45 Illegal Settlements in the Municipality

On March 21, an operation involving a total of 25 troops from the Local Police and the Civil Guard was carried out to remove a total of up to 45 settlements in the areas of La Mareta and Charco del Clérigo, which had been previously notified on March 13 to almost 100 people, mostly of European nationality, residing in the coastal area.

Following the eviction, the City Council explained in a statement that the municipality, like other areas in the southern region of Tenerife, has been grappling with an increase in illegal settlements along a significant portion of its coastline.

Councilor with the Special Delegation for Security, Carmen Dolores Rodríguez, emphasised that the operation “proceeded entirely smoothly”. In addition to prior notifications, the majority of the caves were unoccupied, although there was one arrest made during the operation.

Santa Cruz, Adeje, and La Orotava

Granadilla de Abona now joins three other municipalities on the island of Tenerife in urging the Canary Islands Government to declare them as stressed areas.

Adeje Municipality Facing Housing Crisis

The local government in Adeje, led by the PSOE, has taken its first step towards a comprehensive plan aimed at addressing the housing shortage in the area. This plan includes building more homes and identifying land for future construction projects to increase housing availability in the Armeñime neighbourhood.

In a recent development, the La Orotava City Council (affiliated with CC) initiated procedures in November to evaluate the possibility of declaring itself a high-stress area, although no official declaration has been made yet.

Mayor José Manuel Bermúdez of Santa Cruz, representing the Canarian Coalition (CC), has instructed the Municipal Housing, Projects, and Works company to conduct a thorough analysis to determine if the municipality, either as a whole or specific areas, should be designated as stressed residential markets.

Canarian Government’s Emphasis on Construction

In response to Adeje’s housing plan, the Canarian Government proposed opting for urgent housing measures and a future tourist rental law to address the housing crisis on the islands, rather than declaring specific stress areas.

The urgent housing measures do not address the issue of over 200,000 vacant homes on the islands, nor do they include measures to prevent new constructions from being converted into holiday rentals or sold to non-residents.

Reactions to the new decree law consulted by experts have been mixed, with construction associations praising it while some island councils and city councils call for modifications, expressing concerns over its impact on urban planning.

Additionally, there are plans to provide more land to construction companies, potentially including areas designated for municipal facilities like schools and healthcare centres. The controversial proposal to reclassify rural land for construction purposes was heavily criticised and ultimately not included in the decree.

Tenerife’s Cabildo Urges Caution

Following Adeje’s housing initiatives, the vice president of Tenerife’s Cabildo, Lope Afonso of the PP, has urged caution in designating stressed housing areas, citing concerns that high rent prices could have unintended consequences and lead to further price hikes.

Cabildo’s president, Rosa Dávila, expressed support for Adeje’s efforts but noted that there have been no requests from Adeje to participate in the Active Housing program offered by the Cabildo.

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