27 May, 2024 @ 18:02
2 mins read

Expats fall prey to tourist flat surge in Spain: Family is forcibly arrested on the Costa Blanca while attempting to block Airbnb-style homes being built on ‘their’ land

Expats fall prey to tourist flat surge in Spain: Family is forcibly arrested on the Costa Blanca while attempting to block Airbnb-style homes being built on 'their' land

TWO members of an Austrian family have been arrested in a last-ditch effort to stop a new housing development on land which they say is theirs.

Kimberley Wesenauer and one of her three daughters- Love- were detained on Monday by the Orihuela Policia Local and Guardia Civil.

They had snubbed an Orihuela court order demanding they stop protesting on the plot next to their Casa Langostina property.



The finca located in Campoamor was bought by the family in 1996 but four years later, they were told that they could lose a large part of their own land under Valencian LRAU planning laws.

The legislation allowed developers to take land for tourist home construction if it ‘was in the community interest’.

The laws were made illegal by the EU and struck off, leading the family to claim they are ‘victims of an extinct law’.

The site of their former garden will now see nine homes constructed along with swimming pools.

In chaotic scenes on Monday, a screaming Kimberley fell to the ground and was held by officers while her daughter tried to climb under one of the diggers.

They were both handcuffed and taken to the Guardia Civil barracks in Pilar de la Horadada.

The events were witnessed by Molins-based developer Victor Galvez who was there to co-ordinate his staff, who started work after police had removed the family members from the land.

The Wesenauers had staged a series of protests since February when they chained themselves to equipment, preventing any work from being carried out.

They had not been arrested on previous occasions, but the patience of the courts and the police finally run out.

The Wesenauers made a last-ditch attempt to stop their removal by filing a document supported by an expert report that suggested the use of heavy machinery on the land next to the finca’s stables would have a detrimental effect on several pairs of nesting swallows.

The submission was sent to the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office in the early hours of Monday but nothing came from the Judicial Commission to stop the eviction order from the Orihuela court.

The Friends of Sierra Escalona issued a statement saying that the finca is ‘one of the few traditional constructions to have survived tourist developments that have invaded a large part of the Orihuela Costa’s Dehesa de Campoamor’.

In 2020, Orihuela council under then-mayor, Emilio Bascañuna, committed itself to classifying Casa Langostina as an ‘Asset of Cultural Interest’, backed up by a report from the municipal architect.

It would have meant that no construction on the ‘contested’ land would have been permitted, but nothing came of it.

The Wesenauers are still working on a challenge to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that their ‘fundamental rights had been violated

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