The 24 July 1998, the local government of Rita Barberà, of the conservative People's Party approved a plan for extending the Blasco Ibáñez avenue to the sea. The plan implied the destruction of 1,651 houses all located into the Whole neighbourhood. The old fishing enclave of Cabanyal-Canyamelar, which was and is very deteriorated, is also considered a Heritage of Cultural Interest, so the plan couldn't be applied and the struggle between the Town Hall and the neighbours fighting against the destruction of their home lead to a social fracture that lasts for decades.
The main organization against Barberà's plans, Salvem el Cabanyal (Save the Cabanyal, in valencian) worked as civical resistance and got some tactical victories at the courts. The Mayor of Valencia, Rita Barberà, even disqualified them by arguing that they were "violents", because "they summit judicial appeals".
The strategy of the Valencian council for taking the demolition ahead consisted in creating some public corporations (as "AUMSA" or "Cabanyal 2010"), which bought 500 of the houses in the area to be demolished, after pressuring the owners to sell their homes at low-prices. During the 2000 decade those houses were abandoned, and the Town Hall allowed drug-dealers to install there.
In 2007, Barberà's government send expropriation letters to all neighbours in Sant Pere's street, main artery in the affected area. Meanwhile, Las Provincias newspaper started a campaign against the citizens organized under "Salvem", damaging the cohabitation in the neighbourhood.
Despite law courts didn't allowed Barbera's plan in a protected area, People's Party used they majorities in both Town Hall council and autonomical government to modify laws in a sense that could allow the demolition. In April 2010, Rita Barberà approved, by decree, the demolition of the houses affected by the plan. Civical actions retarded the action of the bulldozers and finally the courts unauthorized the action. Despite this, about 125 houses were demolished, 28 of which were tiled at the very specific mood Cabanyal houses are tiled.
In 2013, the conflict in Cabanyal is still alive, poisoning the coexistence in the neighbourhood and damaging Barbera's image. That year, 272 tiled houses were catalogued, being 139 of those protected and 43 marked to be demolished by the expansion plan.
- "A Tortured Cabanyal", text by Sergi Tarín in "Houses from El Cabanyal, Valencian Modernism for the XXI century" (second edition), L'Oronella, Valencia, 2013, ISBN 978-84-96472-73-0
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