EXCLUSIVE by Lenox Napier and James Bryce
A BRITISH couple have slammed the authorities for failing to compensate them for the demolition of their home five years ago.
Len and Helen Prior had their property bulldozed in Vera, Andalucia, in January 2008 over ‘planning irregularities’.
This was despite having the correct paperwork signed off from the town hall.
“This whole mess would be bearable if it made any sense,” Helen told the Olive Press.
“The latest court ruling saying ‘our land can only be used for farming, forestry or animals’ is insane.
“Our land butts onto the land of three of our neighbours, but their land does not have to be used for forestry, farming or animals.”
The expat, from Berkshire, who lives with her husband in a garage on the property added: “How can it be possible that this is the only plot which has to be used for that purpose when they are all the same size and have the same criteria?”
She added: “I would think that the average five-year-old would see there is no logic behind this ruling.
“The court said that Vera had to pay our compensation, but how long will it take the court to decide how much compensation Vera will have to pay?
“Vera has no money apparently, but surely as a public organisation it must carry Public Liability Insurance.
“If not, why not? This is not just injustice, this is stupid injustice.”
In a similar case in Albox, a British couple are to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in a last ditch effort to save their home from demolition.
Like the Priors, the unnamed couple have been forced to endure a lengthy legal battle after becoming embroiled in a planning dispute between the town hall and the Junta.
People, just move to a proper country and save the hassle.
I’m sure they would if they could Fred…
Spain is seriously suffering because of its title deeds system. The property market has crashed and is going to keep sinking unless Spain wakes up and changes its out of date system and cumbersome title deed system. There are US/Canadian/Australian/UK companies that specialising in retirees purchasing properties in Asia – capiche! Asia has become the 5 star place to retirees at the price of 1 star – guess where foreigners are going to move too!! The above situation depicts utter stupidity at all levels – government, judicial and local authorities. The reality for 2013 and onwards is that some countries will swim and others will sink. I believe Spain will continue to sink on its current path.
A crazy situation which would shame any third world country for its obvious denial of basic human rights. Yet this is a Spain pretending to be part of the modern world, part of Europe, but still gripped by the extremist top-level corruption left over from the Franco-era dictatorship and all too willingly expanded by imported criminals. Along with 95% of our friends the Spanish, we are all, in the words of a previous contributor, ‘surfs’. The 5% ride rough-shod over the entire population, taking what they want irrespective of the needs of the majority, least of all the poorest. You only have to look at the latest vote over business-class travel for MEP’s – only 4 out of 41 Spanish MEP’s voted against its continuation. That speaks volumes. Not to mention the fact that the top richest people in Spain are now about 8% richer than a year ago!!
My own opinion is that most councillors/politicians/business leaders/bankers, etc., etc., throughout the country, are solely there for their own purposes and probably have enough money or property salted away to escape Spain when it finally collapses – they just do not care!
“I’m sure they would if they could Fred…”
Indeed, but I was mainly referring to people deciding on whether or not to move to Spain. Honestly, who needs this ridiculous legal system. How Spain have been allowed to get away with what are basic human rights abuses, within the EU, beggars belief. It is also amazing that Spain does not compensate these people rather than allow this negative press coverage to continue ad infinitum. Stupidity from Spain.
As a country, Spain is already dead. Even if the housing problem is sorted for the better, their reputation is shot. There won’t be any phoenix from these ashes no matter what the politicians and estate agents would try to make you believe. They are too used to lying and corruption to be able to change.
Most of the Spanish I talk to, now understand that when the last of the Brits leave or, in 15 years time, just plain die off, the last of the posh Spanish owned Mercedes (still on HP) and 4x4s will be swapped for the good old reliable and cheaper to maintain “burro”.
The villages are ghost towns – the younger population already emigrated or moved to the larger cities in search of work. Over 50% of the village where I live that can work are unemployed and already living without benefit aid from the state (their version of the dole is only paid for a few months). Those that are working, many of whom used to pay into the social services system, now for the first time in their lives have switched to the black economy to save on tax and keep their jobs with their employers who also can’t afford to pay into the system.
It’s not a question of if Spain leaves the Euro but when, as none of the establishment here follows rules or regulations
set down by their own government let alone Brussels. The richest Spaniards I know are sitting on millions worth of pesetas still, quietly waiting …
It will still be peeing it down and freezing in the uk (more each year) and still be nice and sunny (mainly) in Spain. That’s why people will still move to Spain. They are still buying at the costas (where the majority of Brits are). So negative.
Well yes, Roger, agreed, but then if it wasn’t better weather how many would still be here, or want to come?
The negative is a huge negative which strikes at the heart of human expectations normal in most other countries.
Let’s all be positive and support such as the Priors. There could be many more to come, hope it doesn’t affect you.
the answer is to just rent , i would give my right arm to return to spain tomorrow if i could. the uk is disgusting
It has affected most people Antonio definitely, including us. But everyone’s in the same boat so best to get on with things and be as positive/constructive as possible. It’s not just Spain is it. Hope some kind of ‘sensible’ lending stimulus spreads across Europe this year!
There are many reasons to come to live in Spain. It’s a fascinating country: rich in history, culture, architecture, countryside, food, diversity and tradition. Those who admire or seek those attractions quickly disappear into the woodwork in Granada, Seville, Madrid and a thousand other places.
Those, on the other hand, who are here for the sea and the sun and the cheap wine will find the same things in Cyprus, Portugal, Italy or Florida. Without the threats, corruption, hassle and grief. Spain needs to buck up its ideas.
I think some posts have missed the point entirely, the original article is about the Priors totally legal house being demolished and the unbelievably uncaring attitude of those who should. You need to watch the video to see what I mean, National Police, local Police, ambulances, just in case the Priors should launch a lethal attack on Spain!!!
As far as I am aware this demolishing nonsense is unique to Spain, has nothing to do with the economic crisis.
Carla, if the weather in UK was half as good as Spain there would hardly be a Brit left here. It’s top restaurants beat anything the rest of the world can offer, its environmental protection makes Spain look like a kindergarten, the UK’s wild spots are just that – wild and natural and its coastline second to none.
If the weather was as good as Spain, most of Europe would spend their holidays there!!!
What I don’t understand is that my child could put a plan together to rectify this problem so I cannot think that the Spanish politicians are that stupid not to sort out the housing problem so what is the real reason as to why they do nothing and continue to harass people? It just does not make sense, even for the greedy it is no good. The Priors case has cost Spain hundreds of millions. I think Spain is just a badly run Country. Roger, yes keep positive but you have to be realistic now and again. I would love Spain to be a happening place and for them to sort their act out as I could make some money as well but it is never going to happen the way they are running the place. Going off subject with the Priors, even the forces in Spain did not get their normal bonus this year, they are not happy. The good thing about some of my Spanish neighbours out there is that they are really self-sufficient. Their parents had it hard and they all have rabbits to eat, chickens, goats, vegetables and so on. They have no luxuries, no land lines but they will not go hungry. Many would call them cruel with animals as they have to have a purpose for them, a dog is for guarding their house and most other animals are for the table. Same with trees, nothing is for beauty, it has to produce something, they don’t waste water or time on a pretty flower. The other thing, maybe not funny but it does bring a smile to my face, hopefully I don’t get shot but when Gipsy type people come in our dead end Road now, the neighbours are out with their guns, rifles, shot guns etc. People are out to steal some old wood and anything else they can get their hands on. Every one of my neighbours has a gun. I can only think that there are not many wild animals left now as they are out there on weekends, even when the times were good. If you go in the cafes on a Sunday morning they are full of hunters coming back from a night of shooting. I would really like Spain to do well but it is not just going to happen with no effort.
Antonio2 – there is a part interrelationship between the current economic crisis, the crash of the real estate market in Spain and this story. What sort of confidence are investors going to have in purchasing real estate in Spain if legal houses can be demolish and the authorities attitude is “we don’t care!”?
Yes you are correct that the demolishing nonsense is unique to Spain due to an out of date system and school of though towards title deeds and real estate laws.
Spain has many excellent global competitors where foreigners are offers excellent real estate with a sunny back yard. An example is Southeast Asia where retirees can live very comfortable on their pensions and their investments are safe.
I know many Spaniards that have brought properties in the Commonwealth and USA. They would never buy in Spain again! They feel secure in the Commonwealth and yes they have a sunny back yard too.
Foreigners and even the Spaniards want security and guarantee for their investments especially real estate. This school of though Spain has failed to acknowledge as the primary element for investors to have confidence in buying more real estate in Spain. In addition, Spain has a real estate catastrophe – no demand for its product!
Buy in Spain because its cheap and the sun shines in my back yard – this though has expired its used by date!
This story is basically a warning that Spain is not a safe place to buy real estate. It is illogical that the Priors had a totally legal house demolished.
My family like many other Spaniards who have lived in the Commonwealth and USA since 1960 will not return to retire in Spain because they have no confidence in Spain’s real estate system.
Security before Sun is the school of though Spain has to acquire to fix its calamity real estate crisis.