16 Feb, 2013 @ 09:00
1 min read

Expats finally awarded “insulting” €30,000 compensation after home illegally bulldozed by council

Exclusive by Kathryn Richardson

A RETIRED expat couple who had their home demolished have received “a ridiculous” €30,000 from the Ministry of Justice.

Helen and Len Prior’s luxury villa in Vera was ripped down by the Junta in January 2008 after their building licence was revoked.

A court has now ruled that the original application, granted without their knowledge in 2004, was illegal.

The Priors only learnt about the plans to bulldoze their home in May 2006.

Their villa, one of around 100 on the site, was the only one to be demolished.

Mrs Prior told The Olive Press: “The whole thing is ridiculous. It’s a horror story and just stupid because all of our neighbours were saved but us.”

The couple has been forced to live in a converted garage without electricity or running water.

Talking about the damages, she added: “That’s not justice. We aren’t happy about the insulting €30,000 offer but we are happy that it has been proved it was an illegal order.”

She insisted that, after all the trauma, she should be paid €5m in damages.

The couple’s main claim against Vera Council, for €690,000, is still ongoing.

Despite their living conditions, and losing all trust in Spain’s justice system, she said they did not want to return to the UK.


  1. Matilda… these people have been put through hell, the would not be suing for one penny if the Spanish government had not stole there house plus the Spanish lawyer plus the spanishh builder that took there money plus the Spanish town council .. hope the same happens to you.

  2. Matilda thats a bit harsh.
    Maybe you should live in your garage if you have one.

    But shows you how awful the uk is if after all that she still wouldnt go back to the uk lol
    Hope they get their 700,000 Good luck to them x

  3. Matilda, the husband also suffered a heart attack whilst his legal home was being bulldozed. The 5m figure is fully justified as these people were singled out for this appalling treatment. I hope your house is legal Matilda…

    To all potential Spanish homebuyers: invest in a country that will value you. That country is not Spain.

  4. Matilda: Because the efforts of these people to fight for the right thing it has cost the Spanish government many millions. British pluckiness always trumps the short term thinking of the Spanish

  5. Not correct, Michael, the Spanish are governed by crooks and thieves, the mistake made by ordinary Spanish is to keep voting them all back in.
    I’ve always found nationals to be honest and very hard-working, they deserve better but must shed their worship of anyone with money – usually other peoples!
    What we need is an independent investigation into the houses and other properties owned by those who seek to knock down homes belonging to others – I bet half of them are strictly illegal.

  6. This is absolutely shameful. Only today on channel two politicians were claiming how utterly (quote) “clean” politics were in Spain. 45 million citizens know different.

    And now the builder, the (ex) mayor and their acting lawyer are all able to wash their hands of the whole affair because of this offer.

    Anyone who buys a new house in this town hall’s area needs some serious brain surgery.

  7. safest houses to buy in spain are village houses and maybe old villa urbanisations. Apts cost too much with service charges .
    But people I know who had a village house used to come downstairs and find spanish grannys sitting in their front room.

  8. The reason that the Andalucian authorities are so enthusiastically bankrupting their subjects and driving off any investment is their bedazzlement by the ecologists, who would rather be poor, cold and hungry but with a beautiful view (from the window of the bus).

  9. Carla: Getting a Granny with your house could be really useful. She could baby-sit, care for your holiday guests, clean up and teach you Spanish. They don’t eat much and will sit tidily in a corner when not in use.

  10. we know of a couple who were fined 250,000E because they built ‘illegally’, and Vera council offer the Priors £30,000E, where is the justice?

    We live in Alora, the Town Hall took out a file on us in September to demolish our villa, they cannot fine us as the prescription for the fine has passed. Town Hall says we have built on protected land, Land Registry says we haven’t so we are stuck, but just like the Priors we may find a bulldozer outside the gate one day!!

  11. ***June, álora***. So why don’t you have a day out in Sevilla, visit the Junta (by appointment) and get them to verify it’s status, in writing with an official stamp. Then, if the Ayuntamiento start to threaten you with bulldozers, you will have the correct (Junta de Andalucía) documentation, which the Priors didn’t.

  12. Unfortunatgely this article is slightly wrong. It is the Ministry of Justice who has to pay us 30,080 euros, because they allowed a secret court cases to take place, not Vera Town Hall. We are not asking for 5 million. I said “after all the trauma we should be paid 5 million”. We are asking for the value of the house the day it was knocked down – 690,000 euros.

  13. Hi Helen
    Thanks for clearing that up… For space reasons we had to paraphrase a tiny bit
    Good luck with it all.. We are with you 100 % of the way

  14. Matilda…The stress of this has probably taken years off of their lives.

    I think 5 million is a drop in the ocean compared to what Spain has done to these people

  15. I live in Alora and the town Hall is trying to impose a 105.000€ fine on me for an illegal build. All around me the spanish builders put up properties and sold them legally. The town hall lost all my paperwork and have denied all knowledge of it. in a meeting with the lord Mayor in 2006 all this was discussed and I was told don’t worry carry on! Would be interested to know if anyone else is having problems with alora townhall..maybe they are not corrupt but just don’t know how to administer a town fairly and that it is not normal to favour uncles, cousins. etc.

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