Hundreds of expat homes at risk in the Axarquia, while Periana mayor wants to build yet another development on rural land
By ANDREW LOWREY
NERVOUS British neighbours in the Axarquia region have banded together to protect their homes from the spiralling threat of forced demolition.
In a show of solidarity, the group has vowed to lie in front of bulldozers and barricade themselves in their homes.
They have started a pressure group called Save Our Homes in Axarquia (SOHA) and launched a campaign and website (www.soha.es).
Their aim is to act jointly to confront the Junta, which has already ruled that various houses were built “illegally.”
“People are worried that their homes are under threat and no one knows what’s going on,” said SOHA spokeman, Tony Lindsay-Jones.
In total, hundreds of licences could be revoked in Alcaucin, La Viñuela, Riogordo and Benamargosa.
Others could follow in Comares, Periana and Casabermeja.
In Alcaucin, at least 20 licences awarded between 1997 and 2002 have been targetted by the Junta.
“The problem might be even greater than it appears,” explained Lindsay-Jones.
“We only know about those people who have contacted us. Further information on exactly which permits have been revoked is private so we can’t get a full picture.”
The moves come after a British couple in Vera, Almeria, had their home demolished by the Junta without proper warning.
“It could also happen here and in some cases owners have not even been told that their cases are being heard in the courts,” continued Lindsay-Jones.
“It seems to be seen a merely a matter between the town halls, the Junta and the courts, the owners are not getting a proper look in.”
The final straw came when residents in La Viñuela were asked to pay a “voluntary environmental charge” in return for having their homes legalised.
It was claimed that the payments of 12,000 euros would be enough to ensure their paperwork went through without problems.
But owners simply do not trust the Junta or local town halls and they are threatening to take their battle all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.
“We are prepared to sit in front of the bulldozers if necessary,” said the spokesman. “Above all, we want a fair hearing.”
Meanwhile in the village of Periana, a project to develop a sporting complex on non-urban land has become the focus of a major campaign by pressure group, Ecologists in Action (GENA).
The move comes after the developer’s website carried photographs of holiday homes they also plan to build on the site.
Ecologists have now denounced what they descibe as a “macro-urbanization” to the Junta.
They believe the scheme, backed by the mayor, is a smoke screen that will allow yet another urbanization for which there is no demand.
GENA president, Raphael Yus, said local water reserves are unable to cope with current demands, never mind those of a new urbanization.
“Although the village has access to the spring from the río Guaro, the village suffers repeated summer water shortages,” he said.