HIGH-level diplomatic intervention has sparked moves to protect British homeowners in Spain.
Following a visit by Minister for Europe Chris Bryant, it was announced that Spanish civil servants will join the consul offices in Malaga and Alicante.
They will be primarily charged with giving advice on the demolition and planning problems that are afflicting expatriates.
Bryant explained: “I’m delighted to announce the agreement for an Andalucian Civil Servant to give local, informed advice to British citizens.”
As part of an active schedule, Bryant also visited Albox, in Almeria, where nine homes are due to be torn down by April 9.
The Minister for Europe warned that the housing demolition threats are harming Spain’s economic revival.
Bryant, cautioned that the ongoing problems are seriously undermining the recovery of Spain’s troubled housing market.
“The market is not going to recover quickly if pictures of bulldozers knocking down expats’ homes are appearing in British newspapers,” he warned.
However, the Euro MP also stressed that finding a solution to the problem was out of the British Government’s remit.
He added: “Obviously it’s not for us to tell the Spanish what to do, but whether it’s an amnesty or a change in the law, we are pushing for whatever solution is needed.”
Bryant had been speaking from outside the home of demolition-threatened couple John, 82, and Muriel Burns, 70.
And John Burns explained that, although any direct prevention action is out of their jurisdiction, at least officials are now taking note.
“It meant a great deal that they came and spoke to us. It was only meant to be an hour but they were here for two,” he said.
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