MADRID City Hall will be putting a strict limit on the number of people who will be permitted to enter the central Puerta del Sol square on December 31 to ring in the New Year.

A total of 7,500 partygoers will be allowed to attend the festivities, a lower number than usual given that ongoing building work in the square has reduced the available space.

The same limit will be applied on December 30, a day when many attend the square to hear the New Year’s rehearsal. Attendees flock to Sol to hear the bells ring at midnight and eat the traditional 12 grapes along with the chimes, despite it being the penultimate night of the year. 

The construction work in the Puerta del Sol has been highly controversial. When the designs were made public earlier this year, critics pointed out the lack of shade and excessive use of concrete, meaning the area is likely to be an oven in the summer. 

What’s more, the Popular Party-led council was criticised for putting the refurbishment work into action on the basis the area had only been redesigned 12 years previously.

The square was partially reopened to the public in early December in order to coincide with the public holidays on the 6th and 8th and the usual swell in crowds due to the Christmas period. 

But the reopening was something of a disaster, as visitors found wet cement on the ground and badly designed stone benches that had no run-off channels for water.

The Metro and train station in Sol has also been subject to a series of closures, in order to ease overcrowding.

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