Agenda21 forum members sit on the Sectoral Council

This is a precis of the second part of an article which appeared in Xabia al Día magazine
December 2006

Agenda21 members will remember that some months ago representatives of the People's forum were elected to serve on the Comisión 21 (the next level up). This Round table consists of representatives of the people, technicians and politicians.

In turn, three of these People's representatives were elected to sit on the “Consejo sectorial para la redacción del Plan General de Ordenación Urbana (PGOU)” ( Sectoral Council for the drafting of the General Plan of Urban Development (PGOU). This is not yet formally constituted but meets every week to debate the new PGOU and formulate its advancement. The Council consists of representatives of the consultant company which will draw up the document; technicians of the City council, representatives of political groups, manufacturers, architects, quantity surveyors and members of the Citizens Agenda21 Forum.

The three Agenda21 representatives were Bartolomé Torres, Ángel Ballester and Guiomar Ramírez-Montesinos. They had six meetings. In the first place they discussed delimiting development zones and the idea (which was a consensus in the Forum) that non-urbanisable land should not change its classification (Expansion=0 or growth=0). They talked about non-programmed urbanisable land and if it would be necessary to compensate land owners if their land was reclassified as non-urbanisable.

The members of the Citizens' forum defended the idea that as much land as possible should be protected, and that non-programmed land should be de-classified to non-urbanisable if it didn't involve any expense to the Town Hall. Several areas seem suitable for declassification: Saladar, Pla1 and 2 and Huertos del Montgó.

An interesting fact arose from the discussion i.e. When considering the urbanisable land which is already programmed there is space for 7,418 dwellings (between apartments and houses), i.e. housing for 15,578 more people (at 2.1 people per dwelling). Another interesting topic was the concept of “Landscape Units” i.e. The important landscapes that the citizens perceive in their daily lives. The Consultant will use the Forum to investigate this aspect directly. Finally they discussed the Peoples' preoccupation with mobility. 75% of the inhabitants do not leave the urban centres to go to work, yet the town has the highest car to people ratio in the whole of the Comunidad Valenciana : 747 vehicles per each 1000 inhabitants. This is the result of bad habits, people using cars to travel less than 2 km, combined with the almost non-existence of public transport.

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