Public referendum says yes to terraces in Palma's Borne square
Quite the nicest place in Palma to sit and take a coffee, a light lunch, a vermouth in the afternoon or a cocktail in the evening is the city's Paseo del Borne (Passeig de Born in Catalan) square with fountains at either end and beautiful architecture all around.
For the last couple of years, a few bars by the Paseo have been allowed to put their chairs and tables in the centre of the square – to the benefit of everybody. Customers love it, the bars have increased turnover and the whole area has both a relaxed and lively feel about it.
However, last summer a member of Palma's new left wing council said that the cafes should not have their terraces in the paseo and that it should be for the use of the public only. This caused so much consternation with around 3 out of 4 people in straw polls wanting the terraces to remain and so many meetings were held between councillors and restaurateurs that in the end it was decided that the question should be put to a public vote.
So, all of Palma's residents over 18 were able to say si or no to the terraces via an internet vote last week. Helped by a campaign - Si al Born - by the restaurant owners association of Palma, who had internet polling stations set up around town, the yes vote won with a staggering 80% of the total vote. Around 15,000 people voted, about 5% of the total who could, and interestingly, the age group which provided the most voters was the 40 to 50 one.
The vote confirmed that not only did the public want the terraces, but also that they wanted them in the same place, in the centre of the Paseo. It looks like there may be a few minor 'tweeks' to the terraces – they will probably be longer and narrower – to allow more room on either side but will retain their pleasing aesthetic aspects; planters, greenery, parasols and rather funky gas heaters for warmth on winter evenings.
Personally, I think they are a positive feature of the Paseo scene – pleasant, and fitting with the area. I spent quite a bit of time lounging over coffee and cake at Born 8 last week and am really pleased that the terraces will remain.
What do you think?