Toledo and its Future
Toledo y su futuro: El Plan Especial del Casco Histórico
Author: Joan Busquets Ayuntamiento de Toledo: CCM, Caja Castilla-La Mancha: Empresa Municipal de la Vivienda, 2000
The approval of the Special Plan for the Old Quarter of Toledo (P.E.C.H.T.) has been a prominent event in recent municipal life. It was the most important urban planning document drawn up by the Council in the nineties. Several local corporations, governed by parties with different ideologies, and a large number of public institutions and private entities were involved in compiling and approving it. The challenge consisted of putting on paper the guidelines for the urban development of the historical part of the city, outlining the keys to ensuring its conservation and fostering the development and revitalization of these marvellous historical monuments which have become the undeniable hallmark of our capital.
It gives me great satisfaction to be writing this foreword to the book in which the content of the Plan is published. This pleasure is justified, as it was during the final months of my term as mayor, between 1987 and 1991, that the first steps were taken towards drawing it up. Since then, the Special Plan has been completed with all-round consensus and approved, and some of its norms are already being developed.
The Special Plan came into force in February 1997. Since then Toledo Council has worked in three different areas: applying the new regulations when processing requests for planning permission, carrying out work on infrastructure and major facilities and refurbishing housing. Significant steps have been taken in all these fields. Since the Special Plan came into force, construction activity has been increasing in the old quarter and citizens and developers have a new set of planning decisions with a sounder and clearer legal basis, compared to the previous lake of criteria. As for infrastructure, the Programme for the Renewal of the Old Quarter, a good part of which has already been implemented, has enableed us to invest over Ptas 6.2 billion. With respect to the refurbishment of housing, our municipal housing authority (EMV) has work underway in Corralillo de San Miguel, one of the Integrated Refurbishment Areas set out in the P.E.C.H.T. In addition, we have started to draw up the specifications for projects for the rest of the Areas, which envisage work on over seven hundred dwellings. New bylaws are being formulated concurrently, together with documents to supplement the Plan.
As I write, I have the sensation of putting an end to what has been a cycle of far-reaching significance for the city and for the dynamics of municipal life. At this point, it is appropriate to underline the work of the local corporations presided over by Joaquín Sánchez Garrido and Agustín Conde Bajén, who are largely responsible for formulating and approving these documents. This sensation does not mean I am about to sign the last page and end the cycle; rather; the publication of this book ushers in a period of great hope for the refurbishment of our Old Quarter.
The Special Plan, so far kept at the premises of the minicipal authority, is being published and disseminated so that all Toledans can freel we are a part of it and commit ourselves to implementing it. Its completion, under the magnificent guidance of city planner Joan Busquets, involved major research, data collection, dianosis and proposals. All this effort deserves to be acknowledged, particularly in view of the fact that our Special Plan was awarded a prize by the Royal Foundation of Toledo and has been the focus of special attention at national and international forums. The city's inhabitants and the public and private entities are entitled to an in-depth knowledge of its content, as this will make it easier for us all to contibute to conserving and revitalising the Old Quarter. And the running of the future City Consortium, the executive arm of the Royal Trust of Toledo, will be decisive to this endeavor and will help transform what we have yearningly desired for so many years into a reality.
The future of our Old Quarter largely depends on the common effort we are able to make as a whole. The Special plan establishes the rules for its development and guides us towards the paths to be taken. The success or faliure of its proposals rests in our hands. As Mayor of Toledo, I will promote understanding and good relations between institutions and inhabitants at all times in order to make the revitalisation of the Old Quarter a reality, by simplifying procedures, speeding up the granting of subsitdies, providing clear planning regulations and, above all, encouraging housing refurbishment policies and making the effort, day by day, to ensure that this maginificent Special Plan is wholly implemented. This is a time for special optimism, which we should all share.
Toledo, May 2000
José Manuel Molina García
Mayor of Toledo