28 Mar, 2024 @ 17:23
1 min read

Expat family chain themselves to a digger to halt new development being built next to their finca on Spain’s Costa Blanca – as Austrian ambassador lends his support

AUSTRIA’S ambassador to Spain has intervened in a long battle to stop a 200-year-old Orihuela Costa finca potentially being damaged by new properties being built next to it.

Enno Drofenik has written to Orihuela’s mayor, Jose Vegera, asking him to come up with a solution after two members of the family that own the property chained themselves to a digger on two occasions as it was about to start work.

Austrian nationals Hans and April Wesenauer bought the Casa Langostina villa in Campoamor in 1996.

Four years later, they were told that they could lose a large part of their own land under the Valencian LRAU planning laws which allowed developers to take land for tourist home construction if it ‘was in the community interest’.

The Wesenauers argued that the finca’s structural integrity would be threatened and commissioned an independent report that backed their claim.

Nevertheless, construction gear is now in place to build tourist homes and swimming pools next to the finca.

That prompted two members of the Wesenauer family- mother and daughter Kimberley Lee and Gabriele- to chain themselves to a digger to stop anything happening on the site.


We have a study that shows that the house will collapse if construction takes place next to it,” said Kimberley Lee.

We just want to preserve it and make it belong to everybody as an example of Spanish culture,” she added.

They’ve been boosted by an intervention from the Austrian ambassador to Spain, Enno Drofenik, who has sent a letter to Orihuela mayor, Jose Vegera.

They have had their property threatened for 20 years by an old law regulating planning activity in the Valencian Community,” wrote Drofenik. 


The ambassador made it clear that he has no right to ‘interfere’ in legal and administrative procedures in Spain, but added: “I am hopeful that all Valencian Community authorities are making all possible efforts to guarantee the full rights of citizens.”

He asked Jose Vegera to help ‘achieve a satisfactory and fair solution for all parties involved’.

Orihuela council acknowledged receipt of the letter and repeated a December announcement that it wanted the finca to get ‘Asset of Cultural Interest’ status- a process that could take years.

The developer- Lideralis Empresarial en Desarrollo- markets its developments under the Praxis brand and is based in Molins, just outside Orihuela City.

They have not commented on protests by the Wesenauer family but stated that they own an urban plot which they have a construction licence from Orihuela council to develop..

Meanwhile, the Wesenauers are preparing a challenge to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on the grounds that ‘fundamental rights had been violated’.

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