The horror and heartbreak of seeing one’s home smashed into smithereens isn’t a fate reserved solely for those living under threat of Russian bombs in the Ukraine.

And while Andalucia is far from a war zone and no-one is in fear for their lives, it must feel pretty close to it for the couple who this week watched their dream home reduced to rubble.

It’s a travesty that such a terrible outcome continues to happen to those who fall foul of Spain’s planning laws, either because they were duped by unscrupulous developers, trusted the wrong legal advice or unwittingly failed to follow the proper procedure.

Demolish Main

Or in some cases, like the infamous Priors, did everything right yet ended up having to live in their garage.

For decades Andalucia’s political factions have passed the buck on ending such abuses and streamline the planning process, not just to prevent rampant corruption of town halls but to protect those who bought in good faith and invested their hard-earned life savings to spend their retirement in the sun.

Despite amnesties, ombudsmans and appeal processes, we are still writing headlines about bulldozers rolling in. It’s time Spain took responsibility once and for all to protect homeowners instead of penalise them.

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