Demolition nightmares

LAST UPDATED: 16 Nov, 2009 @ 10:07
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Demolition nightmares

Case 1

Retired lawyer John Toomey and wife Marissa are among the 300 families caught up in the Banana Beach saga. Despite initially not believing that the authorities would demolish the Marbella complex, they have been forced to realise it is now an imminent threat

IT TOOK us a while to come to terms with the harsh reality that these people really do intend to destroy our home.

We were in denial for a long time, we thought it would go away but it hasn’t.

They really will demolish everything, we have to fight them. Imagine what it will be like when they destroy everything and turf out 300 families.

Although we spend most of our time in London, we do regularly visit our Banana Beach home. I could not even begin to imagine what it is like for people who live there full time.

Everyone is very distraught about this, some people are already very ill. There are English couples in their 80s and young families with mortgages and they have this horror hanging over their heads.

The human cost as a result of all this really is huge, it’s truly horrendous. This is the last thing I wanted when I invested here, it’s very distressing for both my wife and I.

My wife Marissa is diabetic and stress is extremely dangerous for her health. Unfortunately, she probably has never been so fraught.

It constantly dominates our thinking as every day we are making telephone calls and sending emails to try and garner support as well as actually get to the bottom of what is really going on.

Even the Spanish lawyers who live here are absolutely clueless.

They’re leading us out in the cold, not even the Marbella town hall are sure exactly where this is heading.

However, I have a feeling they are planning to send in the demolition men early next year because the proposed town planning bill looks set to be approved.

But I can assure you it will actually taken them years and years. We know we are in the right and we will stand up against this and fight them till the end.

We did everything by the book and we will not allow this to happen.

In fact, I have most recently sent a letter to all London MEPs, urging them to put pressure on the European Commission.

Every day we are trying to keep our minds occupied but it is so tough with this hanging over us. It is completely debilitating.

Everything seemed to be so straightforward and clear when we bought the place. Sadly this has turned into a nightmare.

Case 2

Richard and Sandra Jenkins have just discovered their dream retirement home in Alcaucin may be reduced to rubble in just two months
They are now painfully contemplating the cost of destroying their own home before the Spanish demolition men arrive to do it themselves

LAST week the local police came round and issued the terrible news that our house is set to be demolished in two months.

We are thinking about all the possible scenarios. How is it going to feel to be homeless? What we can do to stop this from happening?

We are even considering selling the car to try and raise some cash to move to France. The reality is we have no idea how to raise enough money to do this.

It is a completely drastic situation. We are living in fear that we may end up homeless. It doesn’t even bear thinking about that we may be back in England by Christmas, homeless.

My wife is on tenterhooks at the moment, she has not been well, her blood pressure is very high.

During the day the situation doesn’t seem quite so bad, but at night it is horrendous because that’s when your mind starts to wander.

The desperate truth is that our whole life and everything we own rests on our house.

If it gets pulled down what will I have to leave my children for their inheritance?

We are about to employ some lawyers in Malaga – our future will soon be in their hands.

I just do not have any idea how long it is going to take or whether they will be able to make a difference.

Unfortunately, we had no idea our licenses had been nullified when we bought our house in 2001. If so, we definitely would not have bought the property.

Furthermore, we have also spent in excess of 40,000 euros modernising and improving the property – it is now worth half a million euros. I worked 32 years to be able to buy this dream house.

A JCB costs 280 euros a day to rent, our house is three floors tall, we cannot even bring ourselves to consider the possibility of paying for the destruction of our own home.

I just wish I could get hold of the old owner of the house who sold it to us. There was no mention whatsoever of the licenses being revoked in the purchase contract, we were completely caught out and look set to be punished. It’s heartbreaking.

Worse still, we have been told that we need to pay for the demolition of our own home, if not, the Junta will send people round themselves and we will later foot the bill.

A JCB costs 280 euros a day to rent, our house is three floors tall, we cannot even bring ourselves to consider the possibility of paying for the destruction of our own home.

And that is even before we think about the legal bills. Even if we win the case it will take ages for us to be repaid by the Junta.

Apparently, Len and Helen Priors – who had their Almeria house pulled down three years ago – are still waiting for what they are owed after the Spanish High Court ruled it was illegally pulled down.

(The Junta has now announced it will re-start court action against the Priors).

A thin ray of light may be that the new mayor of Alcaucin, Guillermo Perez Martin, has confirmed he will do everything in his power to make sure all the houses in danger are protected. We live in hope.

Case 3

Although their monthly 3000 euro fine has been waived due to a “clerical error” Andy and Theresa Bartlett are facing an anxious wait to see if their kitchen extension will be on the Mijas town hall demolition list
Their 16-year-old son – who is currently studying for his GCSEs – is suffering due to the on-going stress of the situation

WE are so scared of receiving the 24-hour demolition notice. We are surrounded by about 45 other illegal builds but, for some reason, they seem to be specifically targeting us.

We are still waiting for the demolition list to be made public and you can bet your bottom dollar we will be on it.

There doesn’t seem to be any clear-cut way to solve this. Our life is a living hell – worse still, our son is right in the middle of studying for his forthcoming GCSEs. His stress levels have gone through the roof.

According to him, he has never known us to be so worried. We are just not ourselves at the moment and it definitely is the unknown that is killing us.

We feel like we are being persecuted, especially when we look out of our windows and see what other people are happily building.

For instance, our neighbour has built a massive six-foot high wall that completely surrounds his whole garden but he has received no such warnings.

It appears as if he can get away with whatever he wants, he has got more bricks in just one corner of his wall then we have in our whole kitchen.

This is like persecution, we feel like Jews waiting to go to the gas chamber.

We have taken our problem to British Consular Minister Chris Bryant, but we are just going around in circles.

At least the fine was suspended, thankfully the town hall told us it was a clerical mistake just before we had to pay for the first month.

We are in a stagnant situation and have no idea just what exactly is going to happen. Believe us though when we say, we will fight them to the death if they do decide to tear our kitchen down.

Case 4

After seeking the support of some 70 British MEPs, Dan Thorneycroft vents his anger to the Olive Press regarding the dire situation faced by thousands of home-owning, law-abiding expatriates across Andalucia
His 172,000 euro home in El Fas, Cantoria is illegal and facing imminent demolition

WE have been told that no building permissions were issued by the Cantoria town hall for 25 years. Why are we being punished when we had done all we could to ensure that we complied with the law and bought in good faith?

It is inconceivable that the regional authorities were unaware of the situation regarding illegal building, and thereby condoned it.

Where did they think the extra revenues were coming from? Why has Spain been booming in recent years?

Where did all the businesses that profited from the mainly British investments think that the money came from?

It really is shameful that they should suggest that we should pay to have our homes legalised. What about sharing some of the profits they have made out of us?

This is the shame of Spain! The realisation that so many houses are now classed as illegal was the main cause of the property slump in Spain, long before the current worldwide economic problems.

All we want is to live out our lives in peace, and enjoy your wonderful country among the good Spanish people.
Surely this is our basic human right.

28 COMMENTS

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  1. these people must protest through the towns they live in, so everybody knows what they are going through, its sad that recently two of britains most famous people have invested millions in Spain and are employing Spanish staff helping the unemployment here,but they should also be telling the local council’s that this must stop.

  2. Dan Thorneycrofts letter especially hits the nail on the head the only trouble is that the British MEP’s are as complacent and selfish as their counterparts in Westminster and basically don’t give a toss about the hoi polloi, even if they’re richer than they once were? Sure they make noises and nod in the right places but that’s about it- to get an MP or MEP to make out a case for you, you’d firstly need a jemmy with which to prise him or her out of their chair!
    I wouldn’t say SPAIN is corrupt BUT I would say Andalucia IS CORRUPT and that can be seen by the fact that so many towns have had either their Mayors,Planning Officers,Councillors,Architects or the whole caboodle arrested and charged with some offence or other relating to Corruption,Property and Planning Irregularities, Deception and/or Fraud/Mortgage Irregularities and also various Bank Managers charged with them for Mortgage Theft etc.
    Also when MEP Margaret Auken assisted by Michael Cashman concluded their report to be presented to the EU last year on Spains record regarding Property, Corruption and Illegal Building etc and what action it had itself taken to prevent further abuses of a system that was already endemic they received no assistance from MEP’s from either of Spains leading Political Parties in fact quite the opposite was true.

  3. I think they should be fully compensated for the loss and destruction of there property, as its the the Spanish system and there appointed lawyers that have failed them.

    When buying my property off plan from Apex 2000 “now bust” I wasn’t happy with them insisting that I use there lawyer, so I changed lawyes soon after placing my deposit, my new lawyer got a letter from the first saying to add €800 on to his bill to me? gladly he said no and informed me about his cheek.

    Its just plane greed simplest form.

  4. Spain’s planning laws are pretty much bad all over the country; look at Valencia – it’s not just Andalucia. Terrible stories in this thread. The people who were sold houses on a false premise need to get private detectives involved in order to trace the sellers asap and then commence legal action against them, but of course some sellers are not even aware of the issue either and sold in “good faith”.

    Spain’s backward attitude to this issue compounds it further. Some of the people mentioned, if not all, had all the correct paperwork and took all the right steps, and had lawyers and even had mortgages granted. Mad mad mad.

    This issue will tarnish Spain for decades to come.

  5. You are absolutely right with what you say Fred, and what disgusts me even further with all this is that the EU Commission are STILL sitting on the report EU Commisioner Margaret Auken submitted to them with Michael Cashman regarding the corruption re Spanish Property Dealings etc and they, the EU STILL have to make a decision whether or not to release 161million or 171million Euros to Spain. As Spain have ALREADY been warned to get their HOUSE-IN-ORDER twice re the same matter previously I don’t see there is anything to be considered BUT THEN IT SHOWS WHAT WE ALL KNOW WHICH IS JUST HOW CROOKED THE EU IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN!

  6. hi all,

    people in spain have always be corrupt. for some money you could get lots of things done. and everybody knew… not officially… of course!!!
    provincial or landlaws ….townhalls knew about it … but they always have been far!
    so pueblos like towns cooked their own soups… and in the older days with just some houses nobody really cared. money came to the land ….. work…… luxury for fishermen and olivefarmers.
    problem is ….tooooo many people wanted tooo many houses and tooo many spanyards in positions wanted to get rich in short time.
    the laws …..mostly they´ve been. but…like said…. who cares???
    my privat opinion is …: amnesty. for what was done because its not just our falt somebody offers and somebody accepts…… 1st law of the market!!

    so amnesty for the poor people who thought it would go on like always ….. an from this day on a warning to all the others. DONT BUY OR BUILT OR INVEST IN SPAIN TILL YOU HAVE ALL THE LEGAL PAPERS SEALED FROM ……?the king?… the president of spain?.. the president of your comunidad….???

    well at least you should know that a townhall fuzzy isnt enough. and if a lawyer tells you this is done like this since ever….. kick him in his nice dressed ass and denounce him for saying that the same day!!!
    i really feel sorry for you, but i would NEVER accept to pay for the demolition of my house… but i would pay a digger to stand in front of the house of the person who signed the demolition order!

  7. So what are you going to DO, you reasonable, kindly, law-abiding people of Europe? I suggest act now.

    There is now a National Federation of anti-abuse groups representing somewhere in the region of quarter of a million people threatened by land grab or illegal licence issue in Spain. (e -mail here for firstline contacts)

    Come to debate the campaign you think would be most effective to help you. Good MEPs are listening.

    Citizens are being socially and psychologically disenfranchised by unworthy employees of the state paid for by the very people they are dispossessing!

    Denounce them, make a citizens’ arrest and seek their removal from the public arena. Never forget they are public servants only, not superiors. Without your grace they do not eat or have a home. You placed your trust in those who were recruited. You can withdraw your approval and dismiss them.

    Unless a great moral army of citizens will speak out for you and march into offices with you against corrupt or incompetent practices you must campaign with those you find to be worthwhile throughout Europe.

    Have you asked the Churches and those who trust Divine Intervention to help you? The brotherhoods who parade the streets and advocate for moral good? Are they marching with you to the source of sin?

    If they cannot come forward as a powerful moral force citizens must take the steps needed to empower themselves against unacceptable situations.

    Good EU representatives have logged that in Andalucia, Madrid and Valencia citizens are badly betrayed by their own employees! What an absurdity!

    Let the morally passionate bring heaven on earth by chastising their own moral abberants.

    If not with the church then short term political hope lies in fragile Europe via the Lisbon Treaty which is awaiting a final signatory. Immediate hope lies in numbers gathered to your cause and public opinion being with you, or in the number of opposing bulldozers driven by you.

    This is what the Spaniards really understand I am told.

    This is Good versus Evil all over again. And citizens all have to pick sides. Me, I’m with the bulldozer as the law is not fit for function. It’s application is muddled and out of time.

    You might get a reply before you die; you might not. No, certainly not fit for function.

    Theoretically therefore I suppose Law and Justice do not in reality exist which means…scrap its application if it is useless or has become a hypocrisy . Alternatively employ and clean up its residues with the five million unemployed.

    This way Spain could almost have clean hands and consciences by Christmas time. And when cleanliness and confidence return so will the tourists.

    C.A.F.

  8. John and Marissa,

    I have written to you personally. My query is why the Mayoress of Marbella can retrospectively apparently legalise other properties in the area but cannot offer you the same service. C

    Andy and Theresa -I am interested to know whether you sought planning permission for your kitchen? You should have. How does the mayor explain a demolition order for your place if the other 45 have had no such order?

    I worry about the huge number of discriminatory practices I have heard about all over Spain where the Town Halls are inconsistent in their application of the law.

    I want to see a moratorium on all fines and demolitions until we see a level playing field with people treated equally and lawyers representing people adequately in the first instance.

    Also we cannot see two different laws operating side by side for the same situation. The Priors’ disaster at Vera should have been a lesson to all administrative mavericks, but no, not yet. Functionaries brains are not yet in gear. They seem still to wish to defy even the highest court in the land!

    Richard and Susan: Glad to hear the new Mayor of Alcaucin is doing to do all in his power to help. But why are you deemed to be illegal? Was this the doing of a previous administration or have you had an inefficient lawyer? Or did you buy without taking advice?

    When I queried my local town hall about having had public liability insurance in the past, I was told they had none, but have now, and a senior Junta official told me that if a Town hall erred badly (such as issuing illegal licences or not issuing licences where they ought to), the Juta should pick up the bill for their deviant employees via their insurance as they are technically the Town Hall’s employers. (What a load for an insurer in present day Spain!)

    One does not believe everything one hears even from ‘on high’ in Spain but I suggest you check this out. The guilty party must be held responsible for guilt, not the victim as we see here so often.

    Dan:

    Why had no building permissionsin El Fas been issued for 25 years? See argument directly above. Town Hall or Junta must take responsibility for their abused public via their Public Liability Insurance I maintain. (I have also been told from another source that Town Halls and Juntas just put a contingency sum aside rather than being insured by a company.)
    Perhaps in view of their failure to function honestly or adequately in certain instances they ought to think this one through more carefully. Your local councillors might like to raise this issue.

    In the USA a Spanish teacher friend was asked to insure herself against any shortfall she may have or action that might fall upon the school on her behalf.

    Perhaps this would be a good idea to ensure that vulnerable – to- bribery- mayors and senior functionaries kept ‘pure’. Their insurers would not be rushing to protect them to the tune of say, 25 years of non- issue of licences….or the issue of a bunch of illegal licences anywhere. “Don’t even think about it” would be part of the condition of insuring! Good for the public who would not have to pick up the tab and good for the protection of the institution of the Town Hall!

    Dan, Why should you pay to legalise your property if no one else has had to for these past 25 years of maladministration? Or why should everyone not pay for these last 25 years?

    Alternatively cheap n’ fast might be to follow the Mayoress of Marbella’s example if possible and enjoy a little retrospective legalisation!!

    One last thought which came up last week with a fellow citizen. He was due to renew his house licence and told the insurer:

    “I have a fine on the property which ostensibly makes it illegal though I bought it via estate agents and lawyers in good faith.” Sorry, said the insurer, we cannot insure you in that case.”

    Argument: If a person has a mortgage they are duty bound to be covered by insurance to protect the mortgage lender.

    If an illegal licence has been granted and an insurance cover is denied or made null and void who should be made accountable on discovery of this ? Another one for the Town Hall, Junta or Mayor?

    Good luck to you all.

    I am keen to be able to follow your stories through and log the patterns and the outrageous breaches of rights and discriminations for the statistics of the National Anti-Abuses Federation which had its first AGM in Madrid last month.

    This information helps us plot administrative black spots and help protect newcomers.It also helps pinpoint the real criminals and dunderbrains by name.

    It is the general sentiment of the growing thousands of members of the Federation to advise the public not to buy property in Spain until there is a trusworthy legal system and properly trained time-aware, moral operatives in place. Spanish Government and Juntas please note.

    Membership of the Colegio de Abogados seems to be no guarantee of the sort of efficiency one might expect from such an ‘illustrious’ source but one must understand that they have to operate within an untimely antequated system and perhaps lose heart or control of case when the action is long over the horizon and memory has faded. Again a service not fit for function.

    One Marbella company of lawyers saw legal re-organisation not happening for another 15 years or so. So happy crunch Espana. Losses and ‘own goals’ will have been brought on by yourselves through corruption, indifference and incompetence – to the unnecessary and crippling cost of hundreds of thousands of your countrymen and to the straining linings of a few fat pockets.

    It is my hope that the Federation will liaise well in future with The police and anti-corruption officials /(Fiscals) to track these vendors who sell, knowing the property to be already condemned and to arrest mayors, lawyers and agents who conspire to extort the public by delivering them properties builtknow ingly with illegal licences. As the number mounts each day there is cause for hope.

    But put the moritatorium against fines and demolitions for bona fide buyers in place immediately.Let there be NO demolitions for those who attempted to follow the law and more hefty compensations extracted directly and quickly from the buccaneers.

    In the opinion of many foreigners the Police are surprisingly swift in investigating and tracking down those who are happy to rob and ruin others lives. The Federation applauds their dilligence in this respect.

    Perhaps it will not be so difficult to trace through NIE numbers whose who sold on properties knowing them to be unlicensed.

    Please feel free to reply and see if I may be able to link you to a further source of help and support or help you create a new platform from which to advocate for justice in this lovely nominally ‘Christian’ country in which you have invested your hope,wealth and trust.

    Citizen Advocate

  9. christine,
    i maybe not understand every word…(i´m german) but i think i got the tenor… its exactly what i try to tell my neighbours since a long time… YOU ARE NOT GUILTY! and i would love to present the town hall of our small village in valencia 2 or 3 bills form people beeing fed up with the whole shit… saying here is the costs till now, minus the money the land is worth as agricultural land …. give me my money back…

    i would love to see the face of the part time mayor when 2 nice dressed buissnesmen/women arrive telling him that the townhall has to pay xxx.xxx€´s to the bank account till friday otherwhise they will find an embargo on all the town hall bank accounts…..;-)) (even if it not works… filming the faces and show it on youtube would be worth the effort…)

    greez

    gerd

  10. for gerd

    this is teresa here from mijas

    i am going to film and you tube the work next door to my house of the spanish builder, he has friends in high places.
    I have been waiting for the pp to come to my house to see what the psoe mayor wants to knock down ( my kitchen) but they have emailed and texted but guess what they have not even turned up once, what chance do you stand when even the opposition dont want to know…

    I just cant find out who the Brown envelope goes to….

  11. sorry that last comment was a joke not literally but you can understand where i am coming from surely…I have no family or friends working in the town hall and we are the people they are targeting. i have neighbours constructed large houses near me with no problems….. oops thats right they are council workers or constructors for the town hall
    teresa

  12. Gerd,

    I agree entirely, and recently stated this policy of pinpointing and confronting the person or persons who have brought their fellow citizens to this absurd position, by organising rapid Denuncias and Citizens’ Arrests.

    Why indeed should you not go and present the bill they owe you?

    Why do we all not do exactly that? How much have we paid in time and paperwork to challenge their concealments, incompetences and time-wasting. Yes, let us cost it and challenge them.

    This should be streamlined and quantified for all interested users and let the media know what ‘the cheated and betrayed’ are expecting in return. AUN, AULAN AUAN and SOHA plus other smaller groups are all highly motivated and would probably be happy to send out a well drafted ‘demand’ form to members everywhere who saw fit to make a direct challenge.

    When I spoke a few months ago at a large anti-urban-abuse meeting in Mojacar regarding challenging and arresting these paid servants of the state there was a spirited reponse to this. Yet people seem uncertain as to ‘how to start.’

    Citizens’ Arrest is possible in Spain . I believe it should be attempted by a group of our male cosmopolitan citizens who have ‘had enough.’

    It is time to arrest the guilty parties , not those now sitting up to the neck in enforced debt, ill health and acute anxiety for the actions of some incompetent, or common thief.

    It is the very disbelief that what is happening can be ‘real’ and needing action from each individual that inhibits many from taking action.

    The Brits for example are used to always having someone represent them and find it impossible to grasp they the action now lies with them indiividually as no one else -except the similary exploited – is interested.

    This is why pople must join together. There can be a few who test things out alone of course but collective action is the best policy. Not one more European Citizen who acted and paid in good faith must accept threats, fines and demolitions and the men of Europe must see to it that this does not happen.The women will be there to support but Spain is a man’s world and it must be Euro-Men who take the face to face initiative.

    I am currently drafting a form – but you could design this for the German contingent – to ask all the thousands of members within the groups making up the National Federation how much they had spent in Spain since their arrived.

    Cost of house, travel food x years of residence…and each family would find they had made an an enormous INVESTMENT into Spain so how dare a comparatively small group of exploiters and conspirators cheat in this childlike manner and then dump the blame on those who are suporting the very economic structure on which they depend!

    In development too, is a Questionnaire on health and emotional reaction to these stresses and abuses. People can remain anonymous if they wish but such documentation will be invaluable for the psychological, medical, legal and historical archives. It will show that administrative abuse, cruely and psychological brutality did not stop with Franco.

    The elements which people face now are chronic or acute stress, anxiety, frustration, restraint trauma, betrayal, loss, abuse, homelessness, total disenfranchisement , even the torture of harrassment and threat of legal retribution. As someone said recently it is an insidious form of ‘terrorism.’

    This is more than a comment , Gerd, but sometimes one puts things into context and perspective as one goes.

    Britain’s recently honoured MP and MEP Neil Kinnock of the once said “you must fight while you are still standing, not attempt it when you are on your knees.” – or words to that effect. I think he might have had a point.

    A friend who has known Spain for many years described that when the local people – formerly living in considerable poverty- with ” rice, fish and rotten black teeth” did not want foreigners, King Juan Carlos reminded them that without this type of investment there would be no rapid economic improvement and that they should think this through and admit them for the good of the economy.

    No one loves droves of ‘invaders’ or those of alien culture, but at least these were adding wealth instead of subtracting it. But human nature being human nature there had to be a few serious exploiters and a few townsmen tempted to sell out the nation’s land, take the money but not give the correct licence.

    Coastal Spain has been exploited and desecrated – a familiar phenomenon wordlwide when money is presented to tempt, but we are all seeing this in our own countries of birth, where it is hard to imagine that so few have to support so many immigrants whose alien culture clashes with that of the indigenous people, yet the locals have,to ‘bend the knee and pay up for unwelcome and unsupported others.’ Why?

    (Those others who are often declaring themselves poor and alientated have financially managed to cross the world to get to a sympathetic socially supportive country. And the basic pension in the UK for its citizen abroad – less than 400 pounds per month! Contrast this with the Afghani family reported to beliving to the tune of 170,000 pounds per annum payable by a London Boroughs Town Hall to an Indian landlord and one can see how the Brits are universally disenchanted these days!)

    With the northern Euro-fraternity Spain does not have this problem of financial exploitation from its incomers. And for that it should be very grateful.

    Spain’s Town Halls have to be mature enough to control the numbers they wish to accept by restricting and regulating building but not to built to exploit by disenfranchising the giver by issuing illegal licences!

    That is a complete perversion of civic responsibility as well as a breach of social and moral law.

    It is not easy to be a leader of men -or a mayor- but it is less easy to be a victim of that one you trusted and elected (and paid) to take care of your affairs.

    One Dutch citizen reminded me when the conversation turned to his country that there were enormous deals and trade-offs that the general public were never made aware of (which comfortably funded the already wealthy) and in this lies the confusion and deception for the ‘average citizen’who cannot read the rules of the game because they do not know what game is being played. Likewise in Spain.

    There are too many secret pay-offs from base to apex to expect ‘the apex’ to get involved with discouraging the rackets. So unless the 80% average-poor stand against the 20% of lucky rich or theiving opportunists we shall always be out of balance and distressed. Hence the reason for the call for sustainability from so many intelligent quarters.

    In respect of the foregoing it follows that the next false belief is that our nations’ MPs and Euro MPs (in general) are desperate to help. They are not, for many reasons.
    With their (often) wealthy backgrounds and over-generous incomes they are too comfortable to enter into little affrays like ours in Spain and too compromised by party politics and influential elites to rattle too many sabres.
    There are the good eggs of course. Margrete Auken of Denmark was one, Michel Cashman of the UK another.

    But we are on our own as far as timely action is concerned.
    What an insanity we are subscribing to by not going out and
    wiping the deck clear of thieves and incompetents. Get the perpetrators incarcerated – not those who have been deceived. And we must be repaid in full by the disenfranchisers and their beneficiaries.Then the ‘contributing retired’ can take their pensions to some other part of the world which has more respect for their contribution.

    What is needed urgently is numbers and proper organisation by some serious, competent men who are not afraid to escort a thief or maladminstrator to where he /she ought to be held, pending investigation. There is a process to follow. Check with Belegal .com on internet or ask a reliable lawyer how to do this. The law permits it.
    With police assistance you need to remove them and have them charged. You need an apology and restitution. Compensation for the material things you have lost and interest for the non-material losses which are almost unpayable.

    But you will not get that in Spain at the present rate of cases being held. Some say it will take eight years. This is not good enough, so some extra-ordinary provision will have to be made.

    Appeals to Europe will probably yield the best results when Europe can get its at together. We are only people, after all, being cheated by other people. It is a simple equation to say ‘Not on your bloody life will you rob a fellow citizen and expect to get away with it.’ If that basic sense of justice is absent from society the game is over. Time to look at yourself in the mirror and take a ‘goodnight’ pill.

    The eastern groups in Valencia, Parcent, Mojacar and Albox and getting much more together and fighting on a number of levels from diplomatic to marching (when the Priors’ home in Vera was demolished) but this all takes time. Some Spanish locals, in Alfarnatejo, I understand, did a bit of firebombing of their local mayor’s house (see recent Olive Press) and you can bet your life that had much more of a reaction than a bunch of diplomatic words.

    The ‘official reason’ given by the Town Hall and the whispers tell a very different story but in this unsophisticated administrative environment accusation and artificial charges are fast to be brought against accusers.

    We need rapid outside intervention – like a peacekeeping force – from another political perspective. Many predict it will be a long time to change Andalucian mentality. I am constantly reminded of watching kindergarten teachers pinpointing the infant tyrants and sorting them out or excluding them from class.

    In certain areas in the north of England the teachers used to call the parents and say ‘take these home and don’t let them return till they know how to conduct themelves with others.’

    When the parent was shamed , this intervention usually worked to the relief of all the tyranised others. Who should have to tolerate one iota of dysfunctional behaviour?

    Modern British pandering to self-indulgent parents and their offspring and anything ‘limp’ is as new and curious in its way as is the politically correct nonsense to which Britain is now host.

    With a sense of ‘beggared belief’ many have opted to leave the UK to find a better balance – only to find in Spain a more macho form of tomfoolery.

    Gerd,those who still subscribe to normal morals and values must know where the good-natured tolerance has to stop. Like kids and pets who do not know the boundaries they have to taught.

    I commend your tenacity in translating all this and I am so glad to hear there is another good ‘Man of Action’ out there. Offer the bill and make sure the cameras are there. Citizen Advocacy is pressing for video advocacy as the visual medium is so powerful. Do send me a copy please on Youtube!

    Sincerely,

    Christine

  13. Wise words Christine, but legal processes are confusing, especially in a third world run country like Spain. Can you write a guide/FAQ about who/what/where people go to start legal proceedings against developers, town halls, the Junta and the like? I guess it would not be easy, but an action group could certainly finance some legal costs.

    Perhaps hiring some bulldozers is the way forward as it seems legal process could take around a decade?! We can see how desperate things are becoming with the events in Alfarnatejo, and quite rightly too, after all, peoples live’s and futures are on the line!

  14. Fred.

    Just checked this back today. You will know I have written to you re the legal process issues and await a replies.

    Theresa:

    I met one of your Mijas townsfolk recently who told me that there were about 8,000 demolition orders out on Mijas properties but none for workers of the Town Hall! Is this true – and possible – do you think?

    This would be total discrimination were it true – if, of course there were properties belonging to workers which did not comply with the laws past and present.

    How does one check the source of this?

    Are you involved with any Residents’ Association? There are one or two around. I could give you a couple of contact numbers if you wish this. Seems you could do with support out there!

  15. yes there are 8,ooo illegal homes and 70 with immediate demolition orders..as i said my neighbour is a constructor he has this morning had five delivery lorries with materials
    dont you think this is dicrination as we sit here wondering when they are knocking our extention down

  16. uff, christine…
    that takes me a while… long and too late to read and understand for tonight.
    but anyway…
    translation (maybe not 110% proper lawyers german) in german should not be a problem for me. …

    you can get my email from olive press, i guess,..

    (is it poss. ur kind of a reincarnation of jeanne d´arc?? ;) )

  17. Andrew: Few things to query: Re the demolition of your kitchen, did you ask permission to do this? Or were you advised by someone you did not need permission. Or were plans already drawn up by the previous owner? You don’t mention if you are part of a group fighting together. Are you part of a Neighbours Association or an anti-demolition group? Do you know who caused all those 8,000 people to have illegal homes? And who are the 70 to be demolished right away?
    The public are fascinated and horrified but few Spanish papers are publishing this stuff, I am told.

  18. Gerd,

    Jeanne d’arc? Perhaps just DARK with annoyance at what our fellow citizens are expected to put up with.

    Of course, If you refer to Jeanne s’arc as a ‘lady ablaze ‘you might well be right!

    Martyrdom is not my scene. Like a feline form of Garfield I am a ‘Do not Disturb’ model. But if someone does, then it’s down off the tree…….C.

  19. christine,

    tonight i read your statement……and i still see this woman with a banner in her hand… its not the french but its the one of truth, faith and helping each other…

    “Citizens’ Arrest is possible in Spain”
    ooooh i do love that frase!!!!! can u link to the spanish law §§ to read more about that???

    see, some years ago i told some brit friends: you have to fight for the right to live on your land in spain…..

    more than 20years ago i read a grafitty in canary island la palma ” no vende tierra a los extranjeros”(or so …)
    i spoke to a palmero later and asked if we should do like the spanish did when they took over from the guanches?

    he was not amused;-)

    christine, am i allowed to post some of, what u said above on our forumhp?? would be easier for me cause i think….and you just wrote (also in a perfect english )
    so the most of the readers can understand.

    “Martyrdom is not my scene. Like a feline form of Garfield I am a ‘Do not Disturb’ model. But if someone does, then it’s down off the tree…….C.”

    …so am i. going good old monty phytons..”everybody just one cross…..”

    and yes… i was sitting on my tree quite peacefull and well balanced…
    but here comes the calculation:
    no electricity + more houses on -land * generator noise =gerd is pissed !

    means i have to act…getting off the tree.
    i just cant fulltime otherwise i go mad….. so do it with a 10yearlivininspain mentality…. everything has its time.
    fiesta, living, friends, legal fights…

    and i start to fall in love the word citizen arrest!

    gerd

  20. Gerd:-

    Wordy Birdie

    You up in your tree Gerd? Perched, wild as an eagle?
    Find a computer and type in ‘BeLegal’ (.com)
    I’m sure they’ll confirm when you find you’ve ‘a pest’
    You’ll be perfectly right to do Citizen’s Arrest.

    If not there are sources -(let’s all stand in awe)-
    Who have read and digested some shreds of the law
    You said Justice ? There is none. Just Laws. That’s enough.
    All notions of Justice are just ‘sissy’ stuff.

    Psychological timing? Alas but it’s true
    Time’s not ‘of the essence’ – ‘Manana’ will do.
    Inconvenience? Don’t tease us! – To you it’s a lot?
    Permit us to laugh for we don’t care a jot.

    Hey, wait! You’re all leaving? No? Just havin’ fun?
    Withdrawin’ your money and loadin’ yer gun?
    Say, we’ve just reconsidered the hash that we’ve made
    And started a fund called ‘Robbed Foreigners Aid’

    Be legal?.. Be Decent? Be Generous…..Us?
    Our robbery’s legendary, why make a fuss?
    We’re jealous as hell of our near- neighbour’s boast
    And wish we could say ” We’re the Barbary Coast.”

    Arrest all us bandits with Citizens’ powers?
    To be locked up and served would amuse us for hours.
    For conditions ‘inside’ are quite pleasant they say
    You play cards for a time, then go on your way.

    But there’s truth in the words that we may lose our pride.
    When our neighbours all hear we’ve been ‘had up inside.’
    And the eyes that accuse us condemn us,.. we see
    Our family names damned to eternity.

    Caballeros must ride with a head that’s held high
    Whilst to ” Viva Espana” the people all cry.
    Now, alas, let Spain know, as it picks up the cost
    Thanks to bandits and ‘bull’ its prestige has been lost.

    Arresting a citizens surely must send
    A message so clear : Respect’s at an end
    If Justice you’d rape and all decency bend
    You’ll have sacrificed all. Now, Goodbye,

    Once A Friend.

    .

  21. We bought some land in Alcaucin from a builder and had full confidence that we would get planning permission as we were told by both the builder and the lawyer and the architect, who incidentally went to prison that we could get planning permission as there was a ruin on the plot.

    We have paid out so much money to the lawyer and the architect, that running our business at home in England has become such a strain that it is literally breaking us.

    We have made several trips to Alcaucin each time to be told by the mayor that we cannot have planning as the land is rustic, even though all the properties around that were caught up in the mess are in the process of being legalised.

    Has anybody at all got any advice as anything would be helpful.

    Thankyou and hope any readers can help us.

  22. Lisa it sounds as if your lawyer and architect have been purposely dragging out the proceededing, knowing that they will ultimately fail, in order to extract maximum money from you. This is very common in Spain. Do your architect and lawyer, and/or estate agent know each other, or are they all independent? They should be the latter. The architect going to prison doesn’t sound like a good endorsement.

    Have you visited http://www.soha.es ? There are many local groups who meet and discuss these and related issues. If the land is rustic (non urban) then I fear you will never be able to change the designation of the land. Which houses are being legalised? Are they on rustic land? This seems unlikely as building on rustic land has been clamped down on and no complete agreement has been reached yet as what to do with all the existing illegal builds in the Axarquia yet. If your land is rustic it will stay that way I fear.

  23. Lisa,

    Corruption, incompetence, injustice and disregard for law generally is the scourge of southern Spain at the moment but change is on its way. Imprisonment is on the cards as Alcaucin officials and residents know.

    Indeed join in with SOHA (Save our homes in Axarquia) at Vinuela as this is an active and caring campaigning group.
    Alternatively I will see how I can help you from a Citizen Advocacy perspective. (Tel 620102850)

    There was no proper basis in law to make your contract, therefore all parties involved in the sale have to be culpable and you must persist in taking proceedings against them. Depending on your income you could try to get legal state help from the Collegio de Abogados in Velez Malaga.

    If you will contact SOHA they could pass my telephone number to you (if it is not printed here) and I will try to advise you of other options which are being explored at present.
    Keep courage. Europe is constituted to force changes in due course. Very best wishes.

    Christine Ferguson
    Citizen Advocacy

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