26 Sep, 2019 @ 10:52
1 min read

Expat feels ‘imprisoned’ in own home after agricultural plant built without planning authorisation next door

David Lesak In His Patio Beside Babyplant

A BRITISH expat is demanding action after a seven-metre high and potentially toxic agricultural plant was built just yards from his Costa Blanca home.

David Lesak, 62, is considering legal action after his countryside-views were turned into an ‘industrial nightmare’ thanks to the 82,000m2 BabyPlant plant nursery in Vereda Salazar, Orihuela.

David Lesak In His Patio Beside Babyplant
IMPRISONED: David’s view, once of fields and mountains

A steel-wire fence is all that separates Lesak’s kitchen and living room from forklifts that operate from ‘seven in the morning until after midnight’ – even on Sundays and public holidays.

“Once the plant began production, our lives were destroyed,” Lesak, who has lived in Vereda Salazar since 2003, told the Olive Press.

“We have lost our privacy. We’re exposed day and night to the noise of industrial machinery and shouting factory workers, while greenhouses taller than our properties block out the light, and we’re exposed to dangerous levels of contamination.

“Our peaceful little village has been transformed into a mixture between Brands Hatch and an industrial centre.”

PRIVACY LOST: “Our lives have been destroyed”, says David Lesak

A February 2015 environmental report shown to this paper concluded the agricultural warehouse was ‘appropriate for an industrial area’ – not a residential area.

The report says ‘activities’ on site could ‘harm neighbours’ health’ and ruin the ‘scenic landscape’. It declared the installation ‘unfavourable’.

According to town hall documents, the plant nevertheless received a licence for construction on February 2, 2016 – a YEAR AND A HALF after BabyPlant had begun operations.

Carlos Bernabé, with the Cambiemos political party in Orihuela, said the legality of BabyPlant was ‘questionable’.

“It’s a disgrace. For years, Orihuela Town Hall has almost encouraged people to break the law, then pay a fine and carry on as normal,” Bernabé told the Olive Press.

He said it wasn’t clear if an ‘offence’ has been committed, but the documentation was ‘strange’ and ‘contradictory’.

“It’s much more difficult to get away with this now.”

Trudie Lammers Window
ROOM WITH A VIEW: Construction began a month after Dutch expat Trudie Lammers bought her retirement home in Vereda Salazar 

Dutch expat, Trudie Lammers, told the Olive Press she bought her house in May 2014 following assurances from her estate agent that the field behind her retirement home would ‘not be developed’.

“A month after I bought it, construction had already begun,” she said.

BabyPlant did not respond to a request for comment.

Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

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