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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