A FINNISH grandmother ordered to demolish a nine-year-old extension has accused Estepona Town Hall of being ‘racially motivated’ and ‘singling’ her out.

Terttu Balson, 70, has been involved in an ongoing six-year legal battle with the town hall after they served her with a demolition order and fined her €24,300 in 2008 for building a loft extension without the correct planning permission.

Several other properties in the Seghers community have similar extensions without planning licences – including Balson’s next door Spanish neighbour – but Balson is the only resident facing court action.

“It is completely discriminatory, I cannot help but think that it is not a coincidence that I have been chosen when I am the only foreigner living here,” she told the Olive Press.

Balson believed she had received planning permission when she contracted a Spanish architect Mario Jones in 2005.

Now however, she feels that he did not do his job properly despite being paid €2,500 to take over the project and sort out the building licence.

Jones, however, said he feels ‘no guilt or responsibility and that Balson is to blame for the situation.

He said: “I told her from the beginning that she wasn’t allowed to build. Most people get away with it but she hasn’t.

“She is definitely being unfairly treated and I am not sure why. I hope that the town hall is not targeting her because she is foreign.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Terttu’s ‘illegal’ extension and adjoining neighbour’s (right)
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Terttu’s ‘illegal’ extension and adjoining neighbour’s (right)

“Maybe that sort of thing happened in the old days, but with so many foreigners living on the coast I don’t think it happens now.”

Despite numerous attempts Estepona Town Hall did not answer any of our questions.

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  1. Maybe so stefanjo. But it was the third time in a week I faced anti english action or comments and one of the times was from the police. In 8 years on the costa del sol I have never even experienced it before. Even my Spanish wife is noticing how hostile people are towards the English recently.

  2. Floulla, I have heard other people making similar comments recently. Whatever the underlying reasons, Spain’s PR skills are a load of pants. This kind of story will no doubt be all over the Finnish equivalent of the Daily Mail and Spain will be pureed by the media once again.

    The outcome is always the same, the damage caused by the bad publicity following the demolition of this woman’s extension/the Priors’ house far outweighs any so called benefits, not that there are any. They never ever learn.

  3. Surely it can’t be true. All those endless comments I read about the poor campesinos leaving bag loads of fruit and veg at the feet of expats.

    Seriously why would the Spanish not be resentful towards foreigners, they feel just the same as the British when their neighbourhoods are swamped. The only time they are friendly is when they are getting money from you.

  4. Why don’t the council help this lady get a retrospective planning license and assist her rather than threatening her? She is after all a resident in their town, and it wasn’t as if she behaved in an underhand way, as she hired a architect for the work. Spain in a nutshell – threaten everyone.

  5. @ Gillian – Have you considered taking up naturism?

    Yes, the Spanish do indeed seem to want Spain for the Spanish, but obviously they haven’t considered the implications if this were actually to happen. Typically Spanish attitude!

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