2 Aug, 2017 @ 12:15
1 min read

EXCLUSIVE: British expat couple who invested everything into Malaga home given ONE MONTH to demolish it

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The Wards

A BRITISH expat couple are fighting to save their Malaga home from demolition over a technicality.

Gill and Bob Ward, both 74, have been locked in a battle with their town hall, who claim their house in Almayate is illegal.

Just yesterday the retired couple from Cornwall were given one month to knock down their only property.

In a court order seen by the Olive Press, the Wards are warned they will be held criminally responsible if they refuse.

“I don’t know what to do anymore, I’m at the end of my tether” Gill told the Olive Press, “I’m totally exhausted from the whole ordeal.”

The retired pair, who have now spent thousands of euros on legal costs, bought the old farmhouse ‘in ruins’ in 2004, and won permission from Velez-Malaga town hall to rebuild it.

The couple’s house must be demolished in one month

But when the original wall collapsed of its own accord during construction, the Wards’ architect told them it would be fine and that he would let the town hall know, unfortunately for the Wards, that never happened.

Gill was charged and taken to court for knowingly building without the correct licence in 2013.

“My lawyer told me to plead guilty and pay the €1,000 fine and everything would fine,” claims Gill.

The pensioner was given a two-year suspended sentence well as being ordered to apply for, and present to the court in Malaga, a new permission to carry out building work in order to make the property legal.

After hearing nothing for two years, the couple were shocked to be told on July 5 of this year that their home would be demolished on July 17.

The house was briefly saved by two temporary court orders, but they have both been thrown out of court.

“They can’t take much more of this,” explains daughter-in-law Emma Baker, who lives in Torrox, “The house is tiny, they invested everything they had into it, how is this fair?

“We have to keep fighting but we are not too optimistic, we’re hoping to raise as much awareness to apply pressure on the courts to make a compassionate decision.”

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

GOT A STORY? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call +34 951 273 575 Twitter: @olivepress


  1. I’m pleased to see that the OP once again has brought this case forward. You hear so many stories like this yet nobody hears of the councils or the lawyers being taken to court and no legal actions taken against the establishments except for the poor owners that are stuck with the problems and short of all their savings.
    Disgusting. Spain in a nutshell.

  2. Surely the original architect has some responsibility. Or the town hall should reach some agreement to re build the wall that fell down to the Town halls specifications. For a couple to loose their only home due to a technicality is disgraceful.
    No one gains by the demolition.

  3. Are Velez-Malaga town hall mad? Demolishing this couple’s house serves no purpose whatsoever, it will render them homeless and the damage it will cause to the reputation of Velez-Malaga and Spain will be far greater than any possible gain.

    So there was a technical error during the reformation process, so what? Just deal with it and make sure that the necessary laws/protections are in place in the future.

    This couple did the right thing and sought advice but have obviously received poor representation from both the lawyer and the architect.

    OP: what are their plans? Have they got a decent lawyer now?

    Much as I dislike the Daily Mail, they could be useful on this and would definitely raise the profile.

  4. No UK press or tv will report the plight that thier UK people are in. I believe that the UK Government has banned the UK press and TV from reporting this as Barclays Bank Spain was heavily involved in issuing mortgages on ILLEGAL properties. In my case I was denied access to the Initial survey (Tascion) for SIX years until I went to the EU. This document CLEARLY STATES THAT MY PROPERTY WAS ILLEGAL WHEN I PURCHASED IT. TWO “investigations ” were held in Spain by Barclays Bank Spain WITHOUT ME BEING INVITED – which was against my HUMAN RIGHTS. I wrote to every C.E.O./CHAIR of Barclays Bank UK THE HOLDING COMPANY in “recorded delivery” letters WITH EVIDENCE, but all SEVEN C.E.O.’s/CHAIRS IGNORED MY REQUESTS FOR AN INVESTIGATION. ANTONY JENKINS WAS THE C.E.O. of Spain when these crimes were committed and HE was promoted to the C.E.O. of Barclays Bank UK and then he sold their Spanish Banks at a loss of £500 MILLION. The new Chair John McFarlane then “SACKED” JENKINS AND PAID HIM OFF WITH £24 MILLION

  5. These good people have taken professional advice followed it to the letter and are now going to suffer for it. In Spanish law is no one answerable for this travesty of justice?

  6. it rears its ugly head again, what is it the spanish dont get, just put it right you dunces. this elderly couple dont need all this hassle it could kill them.
    the spanish property market is rubbish at the moment and this will make it worse. without tourists and property sales they dont have a lot except oranges they need to remember that.

    • They don’t need the tawdry brits and their illegally constructed houses either. The property market is booming in places and buyers need to stick to urbanised land. There will be more to the demolition story trust me.

    • Many years ago that may have been true but these days Spain is doing much better and Málaga is a thriving business hub these days. Tourism is of course important but it is not the Golden Fleece it once was.

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