MADRILEÑOS, opposition politicians and visitors to the Spanish capital have all been voicing their anger over the current state of Madrid’s iconic Puerta del Sol square as it begins to reopen after a refurbishment project.
‘The Puerta del Sol will be an oven in summer and a swimming pool in winter,’ wrote the leader of leftist Mas Pais party Inigo Errejon on Twitter. ‘Thanks Almeida,’ he added, in reference to the Popular Party mayor of Madrid, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida.
Parts of the square were reopened at the weekend to coincide with the national holidays this week, on Tuesday and Thursday. The square is a popular destination for Christmas shoppers, and is also where huge crowds gather to ring in the New Year on December 31.
But thanks to the rain at the weekend, visitors to Sol found themselves traipsing through wet cement, which was sticking to their footwear and was being left with imprints from passers by.
What’s more, as Errejon pointed out in his tweet, the stone benches that have been installed in the square have no run-off channels for water, meaning that anyone opting for a sit-down on a rainy day will be leaving with a soggy posterior.
‘The Puerta del Sol, where the Madrid PP spent more than €10 million to carry out unnecessary works and to mess them up,’ wrote another Twitter user, also posting a video of the wet cement underfoot.
The leader of the opposition in Madrid City Hall, Rita Maestre of Mas Madrid, lent her voice to the chorus of disapproval. ‘Opening Sol with the cement still fresh and the works unfinished,’ she wrote. ‘A new accomplishment for the sloppy management of Almeida.’
Almeida, meanwhile, came out to defend himself. ‘It’s not cement, it’s dry mortar,’ he said, claiming that he had warned several weeks ago that the square would be in this state on reopening this weekend, and that the rain had affected the composition of the ground’s surface.
When plans for the renovation of the Puerta del Sol emerged in June, they were roundly criticised for their lack of greenery or shade, meaning that come summer the heat in the area will be close to unbearable.
There were also questions raised by critics as to whether the work was necessary, given that the Puerta del Sol had only undergone its previous refurbishment 12 years ago.
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