Barcelona City Council and the Catalan Government have reached an agreement to move the Model prison and the Trinitat Vella open prison, paving the way for the construction of 256 flats for social housing in the district of Sant Andreu.
The move means two sites which have long been claimed by local residents will be regained. The sites are needed for new municipal facilities and to help boost the public housing stock in the city.
The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, asserted that the agreement benefits both institutions, “but above all the residents of Barcelona and particularly the neighbourhoods of Left Eixample” nearest to the penitentiary centre. “We’re responding to a demand which goes back decades”, asserted the Mayor.
According to the agreement signed by the two institutions, the City Council will transfer the ownership of two sites in the Zona Franca, at no cost to the Generalitat, so it can build two new penitentiary facilities which will enable the transfer of the Model and Trinitat Vella prisons.
A new initiative to boost social housing
The site housing Open Prison 2 in Trinitat Vella is currently owned by City Council and the Catalan Government. To allow for the construction of the 265 flats for social housing, the Generalitat is to sell its two thirds of the land to City Council for 5.5 million euros.
The acquisition of the land means the city will then have a total of 22,000 m2 available to extend the public housing stock, in line with the 2016-2025 Right to Housing Plan.
In this case the construction of 256 homes is planned, 110 of which will be used for rehousing purposes. The new homes will be added to the current social housing stock, with the aim of achieving the intended rate of a thousand new homes every year until 2025.
The Catalan Department of Justice will be able to keep the Trinitat Vella open prison in operation as long as it needs to, but the City Council will be able to use the part of the site which is not built on to start constructing the first block as soon as possible.
Agreement between institutions
The deal takes the form of an agreement signed this week by the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the Vice-President of the Catalan Government and Minister for Economy and Finance, Oriol Junqueras, the Councillor for Justice, Carles Mundó, and the Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility, Janet Sanz.
Following months of negotiations, the Catalan Government and Barcelona City Council have struck a deal which sets out a calendar for each of them to satisfy their commitments. According to Colau, the City Council “will spare no effort” and do everything required so that “everything is ready in 2018” for the two centres to be moved.
Both administrations are thus involved in improving quality of life in the neighbourhoods and dignifying penitentiary facilities in Barcelona.