The Eixample use plan foresees a limit of 3,500 restaurants in the district, 500 more than now

The second revolution of the Eixample enters its next phase. Initially approved by the Government Commission on March 3, the usage plan promoted by the Barcelona City Council for the district will be addressed this Thursday afternoon for the first time with residents and merchants, although a complex political debate lies ahead before it sees the definitive green light, which, according to the municipal forecast, should happen in the fall.

This is a regulation that will be implemented as a result of the construction of 21 green axes with the aim of avoiding the saturation of similar businesses, guaranteeing commercial diversity, and curbing gentrification. Barcelona in Comú is the promoter of the norm and defends that it be applied to the entire Eixample. The PSC think you should only affect the areas surrounding the new axes. This is probably the issue that currently most separates the partners of Ada Colau’s government.

“What we do is order so that what happens in streets like Aribau does not happen, where there are 86 restaurants on the section of the road in Eixample”, says Janet Sanz

Almost 20% more restaurants

The initially approved use plan presents a specific figure that serves as an example of its potential consequences. In the Eixample, according to figures from the consistory, there are now about 3,000 restaurants. If the use plan that ends up being implemented is the current one, that figure would have a cap: it could increase by 500 establishments.

To put it quite clearly: the new Eixample use plan foresees a maximum of 3,500 restaurants in the district. That number, naturally, is not a municipal objective. It is a maximum limit that would be reached in the event that the demand for licenses provoked it. A ceiling that could not be surpassed. The new premises would have an unequal geographic distribution, because there are streets where saturation is evident and others where it is not. The consistory has drawn up a map in which it sets saturated areas in red and those that would allow more premises in green.

The Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning, Janet Sanz, considers that this potential increase, of close to 20%, is proof that the regulation he defends does not mean vetoing more restaurant establishments. “What we do is order so that what happens in streets like Aribau does not happen, where there are 86 restaurants on the section of the road in Eixample. Is there room for more restaurants in Aribau? Probably not. On the other hand, there could be one more on Passeig de Gràcia”.

Sanz argues that it is not only necessary to take precautions in the pacified streets, as the socialists defend, and insists that it is about avoiding cases such as those of Aribau and Enric Granados. Regarding his assertion that the use plan slows down but does not prohibit more establishments, he alludes to the cases of Sant Antoni and Girona, streets in which plans adjusted to those streets were drawn up, in 2018 and 2020, respectively. Between the two ways, he stresses, 18 more restaurants have been opened since the restrictive regulation was established in both. The use plans for Sant Antoni and Girona, by the way, will be superseded by the Eixample plan as a whole when it is definitively approved.

21 votes

The use plan will have an indeterminate validity that can be modified. after being initially approved in March, a two-month public exhibition period was opened, which was extended until June 9. Now, once the allegations are analyzed and the opinion of neighbors and merchants is pressed, the time will come to seek the necessary political support.

In order for the norm to be definitively approved in the municipal plenary session, it will be necessary to obtain the 21 votes of the absolute majority. With the simple majority, without reaching that figure, it could already be validated, but Sanz is aware that the opposition, ERC aside, intends to vote against it.

Esquerra has presented allegations. He is not against the plan but he is concerned about some things & rdquor ;, he specifies. The case of the PSC is somewhat different: it has been frontally against it but has not presented allegations: “In the case of the PEUAT (the hotel regulation) it did present them”, recalls the deputy mayor.

Under the hypothesis that the group Ernest Maragall it will end up voting with the government, as it has done in several relevant cases in this mandate, ‘comuns’ and they would add 20 councillors. If the rest, 21 councilors, vote against, the plan would not prosper.

license suspension

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Therefore, Barcelona en Comú will have to convince the PSC, who insists that a district-wide standard is overkill. In fact, the socialists also questioned the ‘Superilla’ model itself. In February, the third deputy mayor of Barcelona and Councilor for Mobility, Laia Bonet (PSC), stated that her group shared the need to pacify the city center but added that “there are different ways to implement it”.

Sanz is confident that an agreement will be reached sometime in the autumn. For now, a suspension of licenses is in force that was established from April 2022 to April 2023 and that prevents new establishments. It could be extended until April 2024, but the deputy mayor is confident that a positive outcome will come sooner.

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