British expats in Spain face homelessness in 2010

British expats who are currently living in Albox, Spain, have been informed that their dream properties are to be bulldozed to the ground as a result of claims by the Spanish authorities that the properties were constructed without appropriate permissions.

The Brits, who were served demolition notices over the Christmas period, had no knowledge of the fact that their homes were illegal, or that court hearings have been ongoing to decide the fate of their properties. The decisions have arisen as part of Spanish authorities’ claims that former officials in the region had allowed overdevelopment of the costal regions in the Almeria area. Whilst building licenses were issued these licenses have since been nullified by the Spanish courts as a result of action instigated by higher regional government authorities.

The news has come as a shock for those Brits affected. Talking about their experiences in British newspaper The Telegraph, John Burns, a pensioner from the United Kingdom described their plight: “The first I knew of any problems with our house was on December 22 when a police officer knocked at the door and gave me the demolition notice (…)The expiry date on the notice is April 9. My wife’s been crying from the day we received it. Our Christmas was ruined.”

At present, around 12 expatriate homes in the region have been served demolition notices but it is claimed that up to 1000 further properties could be affected over the next few months.

Those affected intend to appeal against the decision and will be supported by expatriate support group Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No. The group’s president, Maura Hillen vowed to protest against the decision of the Spanish authorities saying, “We’ll fight these demolition orders on the basis these people’s human rights were infringed because they weren’t informed of the legal proceedings against their homes. The situation is very serious and our lawyer shares our opinion.
“We’re trying not to terrify people but it’s a frightening prospect.
“The way these orders were served on people, just before Christmas and without any warning, was very callous.
“Building licenses for all these houses were issued by Albox town hall. The regional Andalucian government impuned them because of a perceived risk of ‘urban nucleus’. They’ve been the subject of court action for the last six years but no-one seems to have informed the homeowners. It’s appalling.”

The British residents last night vowed to fight the decisions and intend to blockade themselves into their homes in order to prevent demolitions from being carried out.

Read the full article: