UP to 140 families could lose their homes in Almeria after the Superior Court of Justice in Andalucia (TSJA) ruled that their building permits are null and void.
The fears have been raised by a local pressure group that also claims the homeowners who did not take part in the proceedings may not be entitled to any compensation.
The court does not need to provide a time-scale of when the demolitions will take place, and homeowners in the Valley of Almanzora area could receive just 60 days notice informing them that their homes will be demolished.
But Zurgena Councillor Jim Simpson rejected the claims, last night, asserting that the case had not followed normal legal processes and that the ruling would soon be rejected.
The houses in question were all found to have been built on protected land, and though the largely expat community bought them in good faith, the court ruled that they should not have been granted permits and must be destroyed.
“It is important to make this public,” insisted Maura Hillen, President of Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No! (AUAN), a pressure group opposing the demolitions.
She said it was vital to highlight the disastrous consequences of the Junta’s mindless pursuit of imposing planning regulations, as well as to point out that many of the homeowners were not informed by the courts of the proceedings.
“If they were not informed, they can appeal,” she said. “If they were informed and did not take part in the proceedings, they have little room to manoeuvre and may not be entitled to compensation.”
Britain’s new ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, recently weighed into the dispute, saying, “I’ve heard some heart-rending stories. People have made a choice to come here, love Spain, but have now been left vulnerable.
“Now, the power isn’t in our hand to change that, but we can work with these people to influence those who do have the power.”
But local councillor, expat Jim Simpson rejected the concerns, claiming that the case was politically motivated.
He said, “This is a totally spurious story, with no basis in fact – whenever anything like this happens my advice to those affected is to make sure they seek professional advice, and not just listen to rumours.”
Eight houses in nearby Albox are also locked into the same process, with one case sent to the European Court of Human Rights.