Stone Walling Soller style
Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
Tuesday 20th October 2015
Photographs by Rachel Fox
The journey to Soller to and from the Palma direction is complicated at the moment and will continue to be so for a few more months. An amazing amount of work is happening on the main road between the Soller Tunnel and the Industrial Estate of Son Castello, One long straight road links the two places and the landscape changes from industrial to rural within 15 minutes along its route. A roundabout is being created to have proper exit from the road to the waste depot. The sight of huge lorries negotiating a narrow turning has been a point of concern for years and everyone is delighted that this is being sorted. The designers of this project obviously had the budget and the soul to look at the future of this road – this is demonstrated by the appearance of vast stretches of dry stone walling. To watch the progress of this work is such a rare pleasure and occupies the time stuck in traffic jams while the road use is reduced to one side at a time.
The Dry Stone Walls of Mallorca go back to prehistoric times and are typical structures in many Mediterranean countries. The stones are sorted and stacked according to their size and shape. Gravity and positioning keeps them together and no cement is used. This allows water to pass through the gaps when it rains and minimises the possibility of wall collapse. The walls are taking shape and many builders are being used to construct them. It must be a rare project that allows so many people to be creative. The people involved in this are having a rare opportunity to create roadside art and beauty. It is worth a trip in our direction to see this all taking place. Be prepared for delays and enjoy what you see en route. I can guarantee that an excellent lunch or dinner awaits you afterwards in Soller or the Port…
Another construction story is making waves on the on Angelats side of Soller. For those of you not familiar with our geography this area is on the left of the main road in the direction of the Port. This was a sleepy little back water where the Navy built five small blocks of flats many years ago. This was home to the Air Force when they were stationed on the Puig Mayor and in the Port of Soller . Soller is no longer a military base and these flats have become retirement homes for military personnel. In recent years the plan for the area was redefined and the Son Angelats Swimming Pool complex and Sports Centre emerged. Then the Industrial Estate of Son Angelats was created and large company buildings began to appear. The latest twist in this saga took place last week at a public property auction.
It was reported that the Ministry of Defence were preparing to sell their apartment blocks at the sale but at the last minute they withdrew them. The chatter of the area says that this was because there was an unprecedented interest in this sale by builders and developers. The MOD, it is said. felt that they had undervalued the sale and they have gone back to the drawing board to prepare for the next one. This has put the whole Son Angelats area under the spotlight and local people are wondering what size development will be allowed once the sale does go through. The existing apartments are low rise and hardly noticeable behind the greenery of the area. The future may well rise to double that height and be home to hundreds of new people. This is a very exciting prospect for the Soller Valley and a great possibility for people who want to relocate into new build homes.
It is rare to have the opportunity to build dry stone walls and it is also rare to think of anywhere a large scale housing estate could be built in Soller. This site fits all the criteria and is already functioning as a residential, industrial and sports area. The builders and developers can see exactly what the potential is. No wonder they are queuing for a piece of the action.
As the seasons change and people have got time to look around them again there is a lot of interest in the politics and decision making life of the City of Soller . Sollerics have opinions and disagreements are a feature of life. There are those who are very upset by the growth of the area and yearn for days gone by. Others couldn’t be more excited by the possibilities that change will offer.
As this story updates I will keep you informed – as you know there is always something happening in the Soller Valley …