British expats in Spain face bulldozers once again
09 February 2012 @ 16:48
AUAN, 9th February 2012
British expatriates in Albox, a small provincial town in Andalucía, Spain, faced an anxious New Year in 2010 after police served notice that their homes were to be bulldozed after their construction was declared illegal.
Having overturned the demolition orders on the basis that they had not been informed of the proceedings, the couples vowed to fight on. Since then they have engaged in a protracted and expensive court battle to try and defend their homes.
Yesterday, one couple received the devastating news that the courts have again decided that they must face the bulldozers. Their home, in which they have invested their life savings, was constructed with planning permission from the local council in 2002 and possesses all of its necessary paperwork.
Lawyers acting for the regional government (the Junta de Andalucía) successfully argued that the property risked provoking an urban nucleus. The revocation of the building licence was upheld and the retired couple were ordered to pay costs. They are now faced with the prospect of an expensive appeal.
A spokesperson for AUAN, a pressure group made up of mostly British homeowners, responded to this latest ruling saying “Welcome to the surreal world of planning in Andalucía. The regional government claims that its much publicised Decree will grant recognition to illegal buildings in Andalucía but this couple, who have a building license, face demolition”.
The regional government argues that the property runs the risk of creating an urban nucleus. Which urban nucleus are they referring to? Promoters swamped this area with urban settlements and sold houses to unsuspecting Brits whilst the administration fiddled about with its legislation and comprehensively failed to enforce it.”
“Has the Junta de Andalucía learned nothing? Demolitions damage the beleaguered property market and the international reputation of Spain. The response of the regional government to this planning disaster is more tinkering with the laws, creating, in our view, even more confusion, complexity and traps for an unwary purchaser to fall into. Oh, and by the way” the spokesperson concluded “if you want to purchase a house in Andalucía, the Property Register, currently gives this house a clean bill of health”.
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