One year on

LAST UPDATED: 28 Mar, 2009 @ 14:43
2
SHARE
One year on

JANUARY 9, 2008. The date will forever be etched into the minds of those who have fallen victim to regional government’s drive to rid Andalucía of illegal housing.

It was on this day that the bulldozers moved in on Helen and Len Prior’s dream retirement villa in Almería. The married couple looked in on horror as their 250,000-euro home was reduced to rubble.

The demolition of the Priors’ home, which they claim was bought in good faith, was not the first home to face the wrecking ball in Andalucía. Just weeks before, five houses in Córdoba were knocked down after a court ruled buildings illegal.

The case of the Priors was the first, however, to gain blanket coverage in the world’s media. Now, everyone from the UK to India to Australia to the USA via Germany, France and Denmark knew of the problems of illegal housing and possible corruption in Andalucía.

The Priors, who have been living with all of their belongings in a garage (which avoided demolition) for the past 12 months, have since been fighting fruitlessly for compensation.

It was the Junta de Andalucía that revoked the building licence and ordered the demolition of the couple’s home. And since, the regional government has demanded the removal of thousands of other properties it deems illegal. From Chiclana in Cadíz, to Marbella, Mijas and the Axarquia mountain range in Málaga, through to La Alpujarra in Granada and the Almanzora Valley in Almaria, homeowners have been served demolition orders.

Yet still the Algarrobico hotel stands. This 411-bed unfinished tourist complex was being illegally built on virgin sands inside the Cabo de Gata Natural Park when a court ordered work to stop. The Junta itself promised to knock down this illicit building… in 2006. Three years later, it is still a blot on the landscape with the regional government doing what it can to legalise this monstrosity.

The Supreme Court has dismissed countless appeals by the the local town hall and the developers – Azata del Sol – that the complex is legal. Judges have even suggested that the Junta was complicit in the hotel’s construction, crudely falsifying documents with a biro pen to give the impression of legitimacy (Junta faces criminal charges over falsifying documents).

The regional government has denied these claims, but you cannot excuse those demonstrators in Almeria asking why their homes are living on borrowed time while that unfinished hotel is allowed to stand. And you cannot excuse their fury when the authorities are thrashing out multi-million-euro compensation packages with Azata while those whose homes are demolished are often left to foot the bill.

But it seems that the final nail is about to be hammered into Algarrobico’s coffin despite the Junta’s reluctance to act. In two legal rulings before Christmas, it was once again suggested that the Junta tried to legalise the hotel through the back-door. Judges said that revisions to the urban plans of the Cabo de Gata park were “illegal” and “devastating” for the nature reserve. There were also calls for an in-depth legal probe into apparent Junta collusion.

Then, the Supreme Court in Madrid threw out yet another Azata appeal. This was the developer’s eighth such contention.

And in another victory for democracy, a court at the weekend dismissed the developer’s demands that environmental group Greenpeace should stand trial for defamation and criminal damage. This was after activists entered the hotel in 2006, part demolished it and painted the obvious upon its facade: Illegal Hotel.

The Olive Press does not want to condone vandalism, but to Greenpeace we extend this message: Well done, lads. Your fight against the Illegal Hotel has been admirable.

Congratulations should also be extended to other groups that have campaigned against Algarrobico: Salvemos Mojacar, Salvemos el Parque and Ecologistas en Accion, to name but three.

To the PSOE-run Junta de Andalucía, we only have this to say this: Hang your heads in shame, you give socialism a bad name.

SHARE
Previous articleRegreening the land
Next articleScam 'almost bankrupted the Alhambra'

2 COMMENTS

The Olive Press are not responsible and do not moderate individual comments before they are posted. Anyone who uses racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic language or hate speech will be blocked.
  1. Nothing to add to another excellant atricle from the Olive Press except this.

    Have you lot ever thought about starting up a sister publication in say – the UK?

    It saddens me to say but it’s the scumbag politicians who treat their paymasters, Joe Muggins the taxpayer with contempt that you would have to concentrate on.

    It also saddens me to say that you would receive far worse treatment from the politician/elites dogs – the police than you would here.

    You would have to expect raids/destruction of property/seizure of computers and documents and brutal physical treatment as well.

    The cold blooded sadistic murder of the young Brazilian boy. The attempts to blacken his name. The barefaced lies. The incompetence of bungling extreme right wing thugs in and out of uniform. The kangaroo court – otherwise known as an inquest run by a piece of scum – a high court judge who ordered, yes ordered a jury what they could and could’nt do and all this overseen and directed by – so called socialists.

    The danger in all this is the same as the 1920/30s’ a little prat with a snot catcher moustouche telling us – he’ll change all this for the better.

    Now altogether – it’s Springtime for Hitler – stomp, stomp.

  2. Only the illegal part of the priors hme was demolished, the rest, see the fotos, staid up. If they had had a proper job done the building would still be up. They cut corners, saved loads of money, taxes and fees. And got their just deserts. It takes for years to actually get anything knocked down so they either did nothing to stop it or theirs was a specially bad case.

HAVE YOUR SAY...