SPAIN’S Socialist government are trying to block a planning amnesty which would legalise illegally built homes in Andalucia.
The Madrid government has started proceedings in the Constitutional Court against the planning amnesty, approved by the Andalucian parliament in November.
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Officials say that the regional parliament doesn’t have powers to grant planning permission for 300,000 homes built without approval.
The dispute will see members of the socialist party in the Madrid government pitted against local socialist councillors who voted in favour of the amnesty.
The policy was introduced by the regional government in an attempt to help many expat homeowners who unwittingly bought illegal properties.
The home owners found themselves forbidden to connect to essential utilities like water and stuck with the homes, unable to sell them.
Maura Hillen, president of Abusos Urbanisticos Andalucia, which has campaigned for the homes to be legalised, said: “We see with horror how the acting national government is trying to overthrow this much wanted measure. We do not understand.
“What is not acceptable is that people continue to bathe in water contaminated with faecal matter. Not only is this a third world situation, but it runs the risk that some day there could be a disgraceful epidemic.”
Environmentalists have criticised the Andalucian government’s decree, saying that the removal of restrictions rewards those who break the law and could open the floodgates to dodgy construction projects across Andalucia.
Following the announcement of the policy in November, a spokesperson for the Ecologists in Action group said: “This decree includes very dangerous new measures that will encourage the total impunity of illegal building, and sets a terrible precedent.”