A new ruse over homes

LAST UPDATED: 2 Nov, 2009 @ 19:24
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A new ruse over homes

AS if the Guadalhorce Valley was not already swamped with overbuilding, now Alhaurin el Grande is looking for new ways to get licenses issued for country homes.

After his plans to build a controversial 1,500 home development at popular nature reserve Barranco Blanco were shelved by the Junta last month, PP mayor Juan Martin Seron has come up with a new ruse to concrete over the area.

The mayor – who is already awaiting trial for awarding illegal licences in return for cash bribes – wants to allow people to convert farm buildings into homes.

In an audacious move he also wants to reduce the minimum area of land required to build a so-called ´casa de aperos´ or toolshed from 10,000 to 5,000 square metres.

These are the licences that have landed thousands of people around the region – many expatriates – with big fines.

In April, the Olive Press reported how in nearby Tolox, Britons Peter and Lyn Joyce were facing financial ruin after being fined 50,000 euros for building a home with a ‘tool shed’ licence.

In an audacious move he also wants to reduce the minimum area of land required to build a so-called ´casa de aperos´ or toolshed from 10,000 to 5,000 square metres.

A number of areas, including the Axarquia, Chiclana and the Guadalhorce Valley, have come under the spotlight for the large number of rustic homes built in this way.

This, however, is not stopping Seron – who allegedly took bribes of up to 150,000 euros from 14 businessmen in the Troya scandal.

He is now planning to manipulate Alhaurin´s PGOU town plan to allow the new country projects.

Under article 301 of the PGOU, town planning boss Gregorio Guerra aims to allow any buildings for storing farming equipment or agricultural produce to have kitchens and bathrooms.

They could then be used “on an occasional basis, like a home, without them becoming a main residence,” explained mayor Seron.

The town hall has announced it is going to freeze all building work on rustic land for a year, while it attempts to bring in the new changes.

The news comes just a month after the Junta rejected an appeal from Alhaurin to allow developers to build 1,466 homes at the Barranco Blanco beauty spot.

Authorities insisted that there would be a negative impact on the environment, as well as undue pressure on water resources in the area.

While Seron called the decision ´contradictory´with the area declared as urbanisable 25 years ago, it was a great victory for local campaigners, as well as neighbouring Coin town hall, that has strongly opposed the development.

It emerged earlier this year that the beleaguered Alhaurin mayor spent over 80,000 euros in cash on property and a top of the range Audi in 2005.

Seron, who is accused of corruption in the Operation Troya case, bought the car for 30,000 euros and the home with 51,000 in cash.

In total, he and his wife managed to buy nine homes over the last few years without a mortgage.

A total of three others were bought with mortgages, two of which were cancelled on the sale of the properties.

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