Tuesday, 20 April 2010

AUAN Press release - 20.4.2010

Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No
Campaigning to safeguard our homes

AUAN Press release – 20th April 2010
Contact info@almanzora-au.org

Demolition order set aside.

One of the ‘Albox 8’ was the recipient of some good news yesterday when a judge ordered that proceedings to demolish their home should be set aside and the case re-tried. The Juntas’ objections were denied.
Their lawyer cited case law which included the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Helen and Len Prior to convince the judge that the homeowners had not been correctly informed of the proceedings against their home.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Letter from Catherine Bearder MEP (Liberal Democrat)

Dear Sir

Thank you for contacting me about abuses of property rights in Spain.

Liberal Democrat MEPs have a long and proud record of fighting the “Spanish land grab”, which is a very serious human rights abuse causing homelessness, loss of savings and anguish for many of my constituents and others. I share the deep anger at the way in which legitimate property rights have been undermined or even abolished. Although I am newly elected to the European parliament, my Liberal Democrat colleagues in the European parliament have taken a strong and active interest in the issue for 6 years, supporting from the beginning the campaign of “Abusos Urbanisticos-No”.

Over the last 5 years, the European Parliament has held a series of debates and adopted resolutions that make clear the view of MEPs that the phenomenon of the Spanish land grab is unacceptable and must be addressed by the Spanish government. Parliament's actions include:

· December 2005: Fourtou report on Valencian land law, debated and supported by the Parliament in response to 15,000 petitions from citizens. Parliament's resolution identified maladministration by Valencia's local authorities, urged action to remedy this and more assistance for those affected
· June 2007: Parliament adopts a resolution following a fact-finding visit to Spain, calling for Spanish authorities to set up committees to investigate and arbitrate where disputes arise, and for adequate compensation to be awarded where necessary
· March 2009: Auken report on the impact of extensive urbanisation in Spain adopted by the Parliament, calling for the introduction of effective redress

Liberal Democrat MEPs of course supported both the Fourtou and Auken reports. Despite all this European Parliament activity, the Spanish authorities have repeatedly argued that this is a “local” issue and that cases will be dealt with by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

In March this year the Petitions Committee deemed many of the issues related to the petitions on property rights to be unresolved. After discussions with the Spanish government and several petitioners, they called on the government of Spain and of the regions concerned to carry out a thorough review and to revise all legislation affecting the rights of individual property owners as a result of massive urbanisation. The aim of this was to bring an end to the abuse of rights and obligations enshrined in the EU treaties and Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Convention of Human Rights and relevant EU Directives, as well as in other conventions to which the EU is a party. At the same time, the Committee called on the Commission to ensure strict respect for the application of Community law so that compliance with Parliament's resolutions on this matter can be assured.

This means that the case is by no means closed. Liberal Democrat MEPs are playing a very active role in pushing forward the Petition Committee's follow-up actions. Last year we sought to amend the EU budget to withhold European funding to the Valencia region until such a time that the government solves the land grab problem, but on procedural grounds, we were denied the opportunity to vote on this. We are currently pressing the Spanish Presidency of the EU to bring a new dynamic to addressing this unacceptable practice: in January, at the beginning of the Spanish Presidency, my colleague and member of the Petitions Committee Diana Wallis MEP personally asked the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to put an end to it. Together with the new momentum that is building up within the Petitions Committee, pressure on those with the power to change things can only increase.
You can be assured that I and my fellow the Liberal Democrat MEPs will continue the fight to protect the rights of EU citizens who own property in Spain and address this injustice for affected land owners which we believe offends against all European rights and values.

Thank you once again for contacting me. I hope this response has been of use to you.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Bearder MEP

Saturday, 10 April 2010

AUAN Press release - 10.4.2010

Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No
Campaigning to safeguard our homes

AUAN Press release – 10th April 2010
Contact info@almanzora-au.org

Five more homes under possible threat of demolition in Albox

Five more British families in Albox are facing the possible demolition of their homes.

They were summoned to court number 2 in Huercal-Overa on the 7th of April to be told that their builder Osvaldo Ceferino Martinez has been charged with planning crimes relating to the illegal construction of their homes in the ‘La Molata’ area of Albox.

The State Prosecutor is seeking the demolition of the five homes with compensation payable to the homeowners by the builder. The builder is also expected to pay the 65,000 euro cost of demolition. Sr. Martinez’s’ whereabouts is unknown to the homeowners at this time and there is some concern as to his financial status.

The families were given 3 days to appoint a lawyer and a procurator so that they can take part in the proceedings to defend their interests and claim compensation.

The case will now be sent to trial in Almeria.

Monday, 5 April 2010

An open letter to the Mayor of Albox, the Town Council and the local PSOE party.

I represent no organisation or Group, I send this letter only as an individual, however, before you dismiss this as an inconsequential message from just one voter, it is quite likely that I speak with the voice of hundreds, perhaps many more. You will of course see that it is in English rather than your native tongue, something I make no apologies for. I have determined that I will not resume my Spanish language lessons until my house is made legal. What is the point. You and your comrades may well put me on to the streets.
Almost exactly 3 years ago, I attended a public meeting, where, through your interpreter, Jo Tissington, you appealed to an audience composed almost entirely of Ex-pat British people. At this meeting you suggested that because you were PSOE and the Junta Andalucia were also PSOE, you would have less trouble rectifying the problem of illegal homes. You knew then as you know now, this was and is totally untrue.
Since that time 3 years ago, it would be reasonable to ask what have you done to benefit the Ex-pat community. I thought long and hard about this and decided it was best to use the pro’s and con’s approach, so:
In your favour:
1. You appointed Jo Tissington as a liaison officer to help people understand the requirements for registration, health problems, licences and so on.
2. After a good deal of deliberation....... I gave up.
Against you:
1. You have NEVER organised a public meeting to explain to the ex-pat community just what the council is doing to help, or how this situation might be resolved (possibly because you have NO idea).
2. There are more people now without water and electricity supplies than when you took office. Are you REALLY suggesting that it is beyond your power to authorise the connection of services to houses in your municipality, or at LEAST appeal to the judiciary to allow such. If you cannot, what is the point of having a Mayor who cannot do anything except erect monuments to donkey’s
3. You have overseen the issuing of 9 demolition orders (10 if you include the one issued to Mrs Ella Dring).
4. More people have returned to the UK since you took office.
5. More businesses have closed since you took office.
6. I know of NO ex-pat houses legalised since you took office.
7. You appointed Jo Tissington as a liaison officer, then flatly refused to tell her anything that was going on regarding legality issues.
8. You are the Mayor of a Town which is dying on its feet. The erection of the monument of a donkey is perhaps extremely apt, for a council and town which are returning to the position they held 20 years ago.
The answer to all these problems lies in the legalisation of the homes of thousands of innocent people. Thousands, tens, indeed hundreds of thousands of Euro’s will be readily available, yet you do and promise nothing. What lunacy is this?
In another year from now, you will once again approach the ex-pat community, and appeal for their votes. Personally I have no idea who I will vote for at the moment, but in a year’s time, it will be going in favour of the party that guarantees connection of services, and a halt to this madness. Historically, you have shown your inability to deliver on promises, which does not suggest that you, your council or your party are the right choice; however, there is still a year to go.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A letter to Mr Ashworth (MEP)

Dear Mr Ashworth,

You may be aware of the situation affecting over 250,000 home owners in Spain. The Spanish authorities are threatening the lawful owners with demolition of their houses without compensation, or are imposing extortionate financial penalties. These judicial orders have been given under an arbitrary cancellation of building permits or a retroactive application of the law.

This issue is widely reported in the European press (simply enter “Spanish property scandal/abuse” in a search engine), yet the Spanish government is dismissing those claims as a mere infringement of building regulations by wealthy foreigners. This is not true: the families affected are mostly ordinary Spanish citizens, and retired foreigners, who are facing ruin and are being denied their most basic human right of a shelter and peaceful existence. These people are fighting their cases through the local courts, but are not being given justice. Their suffering is real. I know several of these people.

I have lived in Spain for the last 14 years (having purchased a business here in 1987) and am sickened by the corruption found here in almost every walk of life. This country is nearly the world's leading "Banana monarchy" !

Furthermore I would venture that as the ordinary man (Spaniard or other) has virtually no recourse to justice (due to the corruption and crass inefficiency of the system) this country cannot, therefore, be called a democracy.

We are asking you to support a motion for an urgent debate about the Spanish property abuses in the plenary session of the European Parliament and seize the opportunity of the Spanish Presidency of the European Union to solve the issue.

Yours sincerely,
John G. Deacon