EXCLUSIVE: By Imogen Calderwood
A RIDING school for disabled children and more than 40 homes could be seized in a ‘land grab’ scheme.
The owners of the 40-year-old school have now joined with dozens of other expats and Spanish locals to fight the new urban plan for the hillside area of Churriana, near Malaga.
Under the urban scheme thousands of euros are being sought from the owners inside the 260,000 km2 area.
Each homeowner must pay up to €23,000 per 1,000m2 of land that they own.
The money will be put towards infrastructure costs for the project, that will see 470 new homes being built.
Failure to pay could lead to the town hall seizing homes, fear residents.
“If we can’t afford it, they will take our property and sell it to raise the money,” Briton Sally Harrison, 63, told the Olive Press at a meeting of nearly 60 homeowners.
Her family has been ordered to pay €200,000 in order to keep two homes and their neighbouring Hipica Internacional riding school, that they have owned since the 1980s.
“It has to be against human rights that they can make you pay that much money for an infrastructure that you don’t want and can’t afford,” said Harrison, owner of Axarquia Properties.
She insists they cannot afford to pay to keep their 12,000 m² estate and insists they will be forced to shut the school, one of the leading disabled riding facilities in Spain.
“If we are forced to leave our home there will be no-one here to fight for the school and the whole enterprise will be doomed,” she added.
The so-called plan partial includes three new roads going straight through the middle of Harrison’s finca, which is home to hundreds of protected Algarrobo trees and countless wildlife.
The residents are currently in the process of getting the environment department on board to help protect the area.
“But all these processes take so long and we have such a limited time to get our appeal together,” continued Harrison.
Another homeowner Swedish-born Gigi Sunderman Lorichs, 68, said: “A lot of the owners are elderly, who live humbly on their pensions.
“There’s no way they can afford the money. We came to the countryside to live in peace but that now seems impossible.”
Sergio Brenes, the PSOE Councillor for Urbanismo in Malaga, who also attended the residents’ meeting, said: “If I was one of the owners on this hill, I would be doing everything I could to fight the decision.”
The PP boss of Urbanismo at the town hall, Francisco Pomares – who has not yet met with the residents’ group – insisted he was unable to halt the scheme.
However he has said the town hall will attempt to ‘release the homeowners from having to pay the charges’.
The residents now have just three months to appeal against the decisions of the town hall.
Quite ironic that Harrison, an estate agent (and very nice lady) has been pushing the Andalucian property dream for years and has now come unstuck herself in the mad Spanish property system. Human rights? Disabled children? Nature? All unimportant in Spain’s property-building madness. Meanwhile, millions of properties remain empty and are slowly rotting away. Spain in a nutshell. Just don’t invest, as they will never invest in you.
Fred, I could not have put that better myself.
What the hell is going on? They may well regard this land as “urban” land but it is in a very rural location. One minute they are demolishing so-called “illegal” rural properties because they are on rustic land and now they want to re-classify land as urban and carve up part of the countryside to build yet more properties they will not be able to sell. Have they not thought about the thousands of empty properties that remain unsold? This redefines non-joined up thinking.
This has become completely out of control – you couldn’t make it up. Spain is looking more and more like an utter basket case with no sense of direction or respect for human rights. It is immoral to charge people that amount of money for infrastructure they do not want and then threaten to seize their property if they do not cough up. Where are the EU in all of this?
Sadly, the EU is impotent; it’s totally unfit for purpose, a lumbering dinosaur of corruption and inefficiency (and a therefore a great partner for Spain).
dear jane you know only too well where the airport is
to freddy krueger your antispanishness is worthy of deep admiration. make a tour of guadarrama for example and experience what a big monument like the valley of the fallen is , and just compare it to your dwarfish british landmarked and listed monuments
Luismi, you have no idea what freedom is, no idea what is right, or wrong. You are a typical Francoist and I bet you have money. Your racialism is obvious to everyone.
Spain appears to most of us as a Fascist conspiracy.
@LUISMU, why don’t you tell us what you think about this story and stick to topic? I am anti-stupid as well, which is why I have to keep educating you lol.
Luismi: valley of the fallen is indeed in the most remarkable place and is awe inspiring… but is a monument to ignorance, stupidity and cruelty…
And while many would blow it up – I’d leave it as a reminder of the dark years of the dictatorship and pray we never go back, neither here, or in the UK…
@LUISMI Which airport do you want me to go to? You don’t know where I am.
Perhaps you would care to explain the benefits of the above story to OP readers. Come on, sell it to us.
Hmmm. I thought the land grab had stopped. I probably read it on some Spanish property website.
THIS ATROCIOUS BATTLE MUST BE STOPPED…ITS JUST NOT FIT FOR DEMOCRACY THIS TAKING PEOPLES HOMES’ WHATEVER HAS GOT INTO THEM…
ITS NOT ONLY RIDICULOUS BUT NOT TO BE ALLOWED…
GET A PETITION GOING SALLY ON SAY CHANGE.ORG OR SOME SUCH…THIS COULD REALLY HELP…I HAVE IGNED THOUANDS AND THE MAJORITY GET THE HELP THEY NEED….
LOTS OF LOVE KATHY QJ
I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT THIS LAND GRAB. I FEEL QUITE DISILLUSIONED AS I REALLY THOUGHT THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT HAD MOVED ON FROM THIS LEVEL OF GREED. PLEASE, YOU PEOPLE AT THE RIDING SCHOOL – START A PETITION – YOU PROBABLY ALREADY HAVE BUT GO AHEAD AS PETITIONS DO OFTEN WORK. I’LL BE THINKING OF YOU AND PRAYING.
ALL THE BEST
I did’nt see your comment until now. Beautifully put, especially about not blowing it up, just let it gradually deteriorate – a history lesson for generations of the young to see and learn from.
Luismi – your not even funny in an irrational way, your just very sad and a prime example of what is wrong still with some Spanish. You are an enemy of Spain.