For many years the Valencia City Council has had a plan to cut a large swathe of the Cabañal out to extend Avenida Blasco Ibañez to the sea. This would involve forced repossessions, knocking down of buildings and a remodelling of the area. The local government has won court battle after court battle over this while blighting the area to be demolished and thus giving it another reason to get demolished.
What does blighting mean? Well they have left the area to fend for itself under the threat of demolition so it is now full of squatters, drug sellers and demolished or falling down homes. However, this is only a very particular area of the Cabañal, that which will be demolished. The areas on either side of the proposed new avenue are regenerating nicely.
All this is now under the spotlight again. The first really big decision of the Spanish Government in 2010 was to halt all proposed demolition and actions in the area as they are illegal. This means that in theory the Cabañal will now have to be reexamined and a regeneration project put in place for the area that was to be affected. However the local government has announced its intention to appeal the decision in the Supreme Court of course as they have eight legal judgements in their favour.
The local residents association “Salvem el Cabanyal” has taken the news to heart and although they are not yet popping the champagne corks they now expect the impasse over the area and the lack of investment to end meaning that the area will get the development it needs in saving what is after all a unique area of Valencia and a very picturesque part of the city.
My opinion? It is only a matter of time before the demolition goes ahead because the passage through the Supreme Court may take more time than there is until the next elections. Currently it looks as if there may be a change of government at the next election and if the PP won at a national level it is inconceivable that they wouldn’t support the incumbent local and regional government in the demolition plan. All will depend on the strength of the Supreme Court decision.
There is one thing that may save the Cabañal area that is proposed to be demolished though. If the crisis deepens it may well be that there would be no builders ready to take on the job of demolition and construction of the new area and therefore the plan would be halted before it is started.