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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The home of Helen and Len Prior was demolished on January 9th 2007 in Vera, Almería and they have been living in the adjoining garage ever since. 'Builders electric' (a generator) and a hosepipe for the amenities.
Their house was knocked down (cynically and - illegally according to the Constitutional Court) by the provincial delegate of the Junta de Andalucía in an area now tagged for 35,000 homes (!!) to be called the Llano Central and to be masterminded by the J of A.
They probably think they'll sell 'em to the Brits...
Regardless... the Priors are a retired couple who came here to live quietly. The fact of their house demolition has passed pretty much unnoticed in Spain, but has been featured heavily on British television and will have caused a large number of potential homebuyers NOT to come to Spain (or Almería) to live. The Almería unemployment rate is currently at 30% and not liable to improve until a change in the province's reputation. The Priors (and the 10,000 other 'illegal homes' in Almería) need protection and compensation.
Down here, we've called for a 'European Property Owners Day' (rather obviously to be held on January 9th) with the appropriate celebrations.
A band, home-made marmelade stalls, Morris dancers... and a bonfire with corrupt promoters, politicians and other worthies to be burned in effigy.
 

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The home of Helen and Len Prior was demolished on January 9th 2007 in Vera, Almería and they have been living in the adjoining garage ever since. 'Builders electric' (a generator) and a hosepipe for the amenities.
Their house was knocked down (cynically and - illegally according to the Constitutional Court) by the provincial delegate of the Junta de Andalucía in an area now tagged for 35,000 homes (!!) to be called the Llano Central and to be masterminded by the J of A.
They probably think they'll sell 'em to the Brits...
Regardless... the Priors are a retired couple who came here to live quietly. The fact of their house demolition has passed pretty much unnoticed in Spain, but has been featured heavily on British television and will have caused a large number of potential homebuyers NOT to come to Spain (or Almería) to live. The Almería unemployment rate is currently at 30% and not liable to improve until a change in the province's reputation. The Priors (and the 10,000 other 'illegal homes' in Almería) need protection and compensation.
Down here, we've called for a 'European Property Owners Day' (rather obviously to be held on January 9th) with the appropriate celebrations.
A band, home-made marmelade stalls, Morris dancers... and a bonfire with corrupt promoters, politicians and other worthies to be burned in effigy.
I've edited the title for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I saw Helen and Len Prior on Thursday, and they are holding up bravely to a rotten situation. Apparently the foreign media continue to interview them (particularly now, on the upcoming second anniversary of their home being demolished)... and the Spanish media, of course, continues not to touch the subject with a bargepole.
Helen told me that, over the past couple of years, several people from the UK had made it known to her that they had decided against buying a house or moving to Spain, after seeing what had happened. I can't help but imagine that many many thousands of Brits have made that very same decision.
 

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I am still waiting for an answer to my question about ultimate responsibility for planning decisions.
I would have thought that someone who is so committed to rectifying the plight of the unfortunate homeowners would have a thorough grasp of this subject, even though it is undoubtedly complex.
Until I can get an answer from 'lenox' or someone else who is knowledgeable in this field I am sympathetic to the plight of individuals but as yet unconvinced as to where ultimate responsibility for the situation lies.
Burning effigies of politicians is of course bound to enlist their sympathy for the cause.:rolleyes:
 

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. The fact of their house demolition has passed pretty much unnoticed in Spain, but has been featured heavily on British television and will have caused a large number of potential homebuyers NOT to come to Spain (or Almería) to live. The Almería unemployment rate is currently at 30% and not liable to improve until a change in the province's reputation. The Priors (and the 10,000 other 'illegal homes' in Almería) need protection and compensation.
.
Are you really surprised that the Spanish media is on the whole uninterested in the plight of a few thousand unfortunate British immigrants?
The current dire state of the Spanish economy isn't due to the supposed reluctance of a few thousand more Btitish immigrants to buy 'cheap' property in Spain. The very fact that so many immigrants from Western Europe were eager to buy, coupled with the greed and short-sightedness of Spanish, British, Dutch etc etc developers and local politicians lead to a speculative boom which has now turned into a burst bubble. Corruption, graft, shoddy construction and other ills are all a consequence of the rush to buy.
Those days are surely over but the consequences are here to stay. The whole coastline from Rosas to Algeciras as well as inland regions have been blighted by ugly developments. Personally, I'm not surprised that the Regional Governments want the status quo ante.
I also wonder if being a 'prime retirement destination' is the way forward for an advanced modern economy. Spain may well be currently experiencing difficulties but it is still ranked twelfth in the world's economies. Being a sort of Eastbourne on heat doesn't seem to be a concept with much appeal to forward-thinking Spaniards. God did not put Spain on earth for us to retire to.
Buying a house is for most people the most important decision they will make, especially if their circumstances are such that they have no 'fall-back' capital in the form of other property or assets. Buying a house abroad is an even more important undertaking.
I wonder if you read the follow-up posts on the thread you posted on last week?
There is an excellent post by riablanca and I supplied the official definition of the term 'immigrant'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As pointed out elsewhere, your understanding of 'immigrant' is hopelessly wrong. How many of the 1,000,000 Brits living in Spain have obtained a Spanish passport? How many of them moved here to work, learn Spanish, and join the community? Yes, there are some - living in Madrid, Granada, Burgos and Barcelona - but not on the Rosas to - let's say - Chipiona cusp, where, I would add, there is little industry or agriculture and the tourist or residential income is 'most welcome'.
How many Brits - do you suppose - live in Almeria City?
Are there more Brits in Mijas, Fuenge, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Coín and Marbella or in Málaga City, Seville or Jaén? No, we're not 'immigrants', we are - at best - 'displaced Europeans' - and treated as 'second-class' ones at that.
As far as the responsibility in the Prior's case - it is for a team of lawyers and judges (and politicians) to decide, well past the years that Helen and Len can expect to remain on this earth.
 

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I feel deeply sorry for Helen and Jen. It wasnt their fault and to demolish their home was nothing short of cruel and pointless.

Whatever title you give "Brits" over here, we are by defintion "immigrants" I'm certainly not a "Displaced European", I'm most definately an immigrant!!!! "Displaced" suggests an involuntary act on our part, which it isnt and I havent ever felt that I or anyone I know has been treated as a second class citizen. Interestingly enough, theres a chap near me who lives in a converted water deposit (horrible little man actually, but thats by the by), he's about to be evicted and his "house" turned back into a water deposit, why?? I dont know, cos the old house it used to service has long gone, but the local junta are insisting that he gets out, so he's bought a caravan to move into AND he's gotta pay to have the work done - he's not a happy bunny!!. So it happens to Spanish as well. The issue needs to be reclified and brought in line with european standards and the Spanish government need to take more responsibility


Jo xxx
 

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As pointed out elsewhere, your understanding of 'immigrant' is hopelessly wrong. How many of the 1,000,000 Brits living in Spain have obtained a Spanish passport? How many of them moved here to work, learn Spanish, and join the community? Yes, there are some - living in Madrid, Granada, Burgos and Barcelona - but not on the Rosas to - let's say - Chipiona cusp, where, I would add, there is little industry or agriculture and the tourist or residential income is 'most welcome'.
How many Brits - do you suppose - live in Almeria City?
Are there more Brits in Mijas, Fuenge, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Coín and Marbella or in Málaga City, Seville or Jaén? No, we're not 'immigrants', we are - at best - 'displaced Europeans' - and treated as 'second-class' ones at that.
As far as the responsibility in the Prior's case - it is for a team of lawyers and judges (and politicians) to decide, well past the years that Helen and Len can expect to remain on this earth.
Pointed out only by you.
I am sorry but it is you who seem unable to grasp the meaning of the word'immigrant'. I have provided you with the UN definition and if you consult a dictionary you will see it is the same.
If it makes you feel that you have a higher status by calling yourself an expat, go ahead, but the fact remains that you are an IMMIGRANT. Possession of a Spanish passport has nothing to do with it. If you acquire one, you become a naturalised Spaniard, not an immigrant.
As for being treated as 'second-class' Europeans -what nonsense. And as describing yourself as 'displaced' - well, you came here under your own steam, many people to get a standard of living they could never afford in the UK.
You still haven't answered my question about planning structures. I presume that you don't know. Now get this straight - if any of these people have fulfilled all the neccessary procedures and not just thought they had, undertaken searches into zoning,in other words done as suggested in Tallulah's excellent post, used good lawyers and so on, then they have somehow been deceived and I would fight their corner, as I have done for people in similar situations regarding CPOs and demolition orders in the UK.
But if, as it seems many of them did, they jumped at the chance of a lovely home at a bargain price (without looking deeply into whether it were legal or not,(see riablanca's post) then I'm sorry, but they are the architects of their own misfortune.
That may sound harsh but consider this: if you were offered a beautiful home at a knock-down price in a lovely unspoilt corner of rural England on the say-so of the Mayor or any local official, people would say you deserved all you got were you to buy without further intensive investigation as your home would be demolished, just as in Spain.
As for expecting the Spanish Government aka the Spanish taxpayer to bail out people who may or may not have been victims of fraud -That, along with your burning of effigies, is really bound to get the masses on your side....
 

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I feel deeply sorry for Helen and Jen. It wasnt their fault and to demolish their home was nothing short of cruel and pointless.

Whatever title you give "Brits" over here, we are by defintion "immigrants" I'm certainly not a "Displaced European", I'm most definately an immigrant!!!! "Displaced" suggests an involuntary act on our part, which it isnt and I havent ever felt that I or anyone I know has been treated as a second class citizen. Interestingly enough, theres a chap near me who lives in a converted water deposit (horrible little man actually, but thats by the by), he's about to be evicted and his "house" turned back into a water deposit, why?? I dont know, cos the old house it used to service has long gone, but the local junta are insisting that he gets out, so he's bought a caravan to move into AND he's gotta pay to have the work done - he's not a happy bunny!!. So it happens to Spanish as well. The issue needs to be reclified and brought in line with european standards and the Spanish government need to take more responsibility


Jo xxx
Way to go, Jo!!!::love:
Agree apart from the last bit about the Government as I'm still in the dark about the central question of who is the ultimate planning authority. I'm still not sure that the unfortunate buyers aren't to blame in at least some part of the purchase process by not ensuring that everything was hunky-dory.
This 'lenox' doesn't seem to know and if his posts are anything to go by, he isn't being much of a help to people who actually may have been victims of fraud.
What comes over strongly is a sense of entitlement which gets up my nose so Gawd knows how it must make local Spaniards feel....
 

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Way to go, Jo!!!::love:
Agree apart from the last bit about the Government as I'm still in the dark about the central question of who is the ultimate planning authority. I'm still not sure that the unfortunate buyers aren't to blame in at least some part of the purchase process by not ensuring that everything was hunky-dory.
This 'lenox' doesn't seem to know and if his posts are anything to go by, he isn't being much of a help to people who actually may have been victims of fraud.
What comes over strongly is a sense of entitlement which gets up my nose so Gawd knows how it must make local Spaniards feel....
I honestly dont know or understand all the facts behind this or any other demolisions. In alot of cases its greedy builders, developers and then followed by crooked lawyers - how can Brits know what is and isnt right? But at the same time when you're buying in a forign country with totally different planning laws you should use more care, more research and more vigilance. I personally wouldnt buy in Spain because of all these things I've heard UNTIL I'd lived here for a while and got my head around it all!!! I remember an estate agent before we came here, telling us when we were looking to buy that a few of the properties he showed us were GOING to be made legal, so not to worry about the paperwork??? - ALARM BELLS RANG - even then to me!!?? So in that situation I'd have blamed the agent - any of them who have been working in Spain know damn well what is and isnt legal.

I know we have the Mayor of Marbella in our local prison due to corruption over property development. So at that level you should be able to have a certain ammount of trust - BUT, even then, everyone knew what he was doing was wrong, but they assumed he was above the law - that he was the law. Technically he was, but it was still wrong and he was caught out!?? - Summat like that!!

As for the Priors, I do feel for them and that wont change, but I dont agree with all the marches, stamping of feet that goes with it. I think there are more amicable ways of making their feelings known. It seems that only inflames the situation and irritates the "natives" which surely isnt the object of the exercise is it?? It creates a "them and us" situation - hense the need to refer to "us" as displaced europeans. Theres certainly no marches or anything else for the little man being kicked out of his water deposit here - its just tough!

Jo xxx
 

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Way to go, Jo!!!::love:
Agree apart from the last bit about the Government as I'm still in the dark about the central question of who is the ultimate planning authority. I'm still not sure that the unfortunate buyers aren't to blame in at least some part of the purchase process by not ensuring that everything was hunky-dory.
This 'lenox' doesn't seem to know and if his posts are anything to go by, he isn't being much of a help to people who actually may have been victims of fraud.
What comes over strongly is a sense of entitlement which gets up my nose so Gawd knows how it must make local Spaniards feel....

Do you know anything of the Priors case?
You are aware that their house was legal with all documentation aren't you?

I'm guessing that there is a certain air of "I'm allright Jack". I wonder if the men with dozers come along and knocked down your legally built house that you would feel the same
 

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You are all, as always, completely right.
'Lenox'
There will always be a mixture of answers on a forum. Thats why forums are what they are isnt it - lots of opinions. "Hindsight is a wonderful thing" thats the only right answer!

Jo xxx
 

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Do you know anything of the Priors case?
You are aware that their house was legal with all documentation aren't you?

I'm guessing that there is a certain air of "I'm allright Jack". I wonder if the men with dozers come along and knocked down your legally built house that you would feel the same
Please read my posts carefully.:) You will see that I am not unsympathetic to the Priors.
First of all, I have made it clear by repeatedly asking for information about planning that I am not aware of the facts of this or any of the other cases. As for all the 'documentation' - until I am made aware of 1) what documentation the Priors have and 2) what documentation is actually needed to be able to build on agricultural land then I am in no position to make a judgment and neither is anyone else..
I have also made clear that I suspect that fraud may have played a role in at least some of the cases.
Now....I know very little about the planning structure in Spain. I don't know how extensive your knowledge of these matters is. My knowledge of planning structures is confined to experience as a member and Chair of a District Planning Committee in a rural area in the UK,where questions of this nature often arose, although on nothing like the same scale.
As for having an 'I'm alright Jack attitude', sorry but you couldn't be further frrom the truth.
For the very reason that such purchases in Spain are to say the least 'difficult' and can be rather complex, I do not and never will own property in Spain or any other country whose language I do not speak fluently and whose legal procedures are so different from those I am used to in the UK. So I have no house to be bulldozed.;)
I did buy abroad though, but in Canada, an Anglophone country with clear and transparent legal structures and planning laws and whose lawyers do not have a reputation for sharp practices. I bought, rented out, sold,made a profit and paid the taxes.
I do however have friends who have purchased property in Spain and my son and daughter-in-law own properties here, a few minutes from where I live. None of them has experienced any problems whatsoever, including one friend who bought a large rural estate in Almeria.
So I can state categorically that I would never be in a position of having my home bulldozed. Why? Because like Jo, I would NEVER buy without having spent a few years here and having become thoroughly immersed in all things Spanish.
I am far too cautious, I'm afraid.
 

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You are all, as always, completely right.
'Lenox'
By which I take it to mean you have no answers to my questions or cannot refute my points.
If you cannot stand your ground with someone like me who is prepared to be convinced that individuals may have been badly treated but quite reasonably would like to see evidence before committing myself, you're not going to be able to put up much of a fight for these people, are you?;).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've posted on various forums over the last few years, but this one is the weirdest.
I get attacked by some person called *dtrfh^lkglhj. for using my name 'lenox' which is - as it happens - my name. Lenox Napier. Editor for 14 years of The Entertainer newspaper (now 'The euro Weekly News'), editor of some other regional papers both in English and in Spanish. I've lived here for 42 years, am not an immigrant, and also not a lawyer.
The Priors house... oh, what's the point?
 

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I've posted on various forums over the last few years, but this one is the weirdest.
I get attacked by some person called *dtrfh^lkglhj. for using my name 'lenox' which is - as it happens - my name. Lenox Napier. Editor for 14 years of The Entertainer newspaper (now 'The euro Weekly News'), editor of some other regional papers both in English and in Spanish. I've lived here for 42 years, am not an immigrant, and also not a lawyer.
The Priors house... oh, what's the point?

I dont know why this one seems weird to you, but for some reason you do occasionally evoke a bit of stick - is it that name of yours ???LOL.

As for whether you're an immigrant - well you can be whatever you want to be! I see myself as one, I dont see that as derogatory, its just what I am IMO, maybe when I've been here for 42 years I wont see myself as one either!

As for the Priors and all the nonsense that goes with it, I hold what I've said. We all have our views on the subject of house grabs, as a newspaperman you should know that views vary - maybe you could help the chap down the road from me who's about to be made homeless by the same rules as the Priors, he hasnt had any media assistance, either British or Spanish????

Jo xxx

Jo xxx
 

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I've posted on various forums over the last few years, but this one is the weirdest.
I get attacked by some person called *dtrfh^lkglhj. for using my name 'lenox' which is - as it happens - my name. Lenox Napier. Editor for 14 years of The Entertainer newspaper (now 'The euro Weekly News'), editor of some other regional papers both in English and in Spanish. I've lived here for 42 years, am not an immigrant, and also not a lawyer.
The Priors house... oh, what's the point?
Look, Lenox...I'm asking you to try to convince me and you're not doing a very good job.:) Believe me, if I was sure that the Priors or anyone else for that matter had been treated unfairly, I'd be fighting alongside you. I have spent most of my professional life fighting for the underdog and have extensive experience of taking up cases of unfair treatment of all kinds.
But experience has taught me to be very wary until I am personally convinced of all the facts of a case. I've been caught out and learnt the lesson. Too many instances of that and your credibility nosedives.;)
If I lived nearer I could get to find out more and as I said if I thought there was any fraud or dodgy dealings of any kind, I'd be standing side by side with you.
But I don't know 100% so until I do.....
Just out of interest, why do you object to being called what the Single European Act, the United Nations and the Oxford English Dictionary says you are?
I'd really like to know, as a matter of interest.
And do you consider Poles in the UK with Polish passports or Bangladeshis with their own passports as 'Polish expats' or 'Bangladeshi expats'? After alol, most of them are there to stay. I have NEVER heard or read of them being described as anything other than 'immigrants'.
But if it pleases you, I'll think of you as an expat!
Immigrant Mary:)
 

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I have just seen part of the programme "Paradise Lost" which a lot of you saw when it was first broadcast. I really felt for those who were featured in the programme whose home was knocked down and others who were living with the threat of this happening.
I totally agree that people who come over to Spain, see a bargain and sign on the dotted line (often thinking they're pulling a fast one over the locals - bit like trading beads with the natives that don't know their real value) without doing the research could end up having big problems.
However surely it must be "wrong" :confused: for local councils to see people building on land that is not licenced for building. Why isn't the whole process stopped beforehand? Like that hotel built on the beach in Almeria I think it is, that has finally been declared illegal and will be pulled down.
Jo's right, it's not only Brits who are affected, some Spaniards also have perfectly legal homes (see Stravinsky's post I think) except - oh :confused: all of a sudden they're not. It's just that most building has gone on in the south and most of that has been built by foreigners.
I also agree with I think it was Jo, that sometimes you don't know what your supposed to do because it's not something that happens or something that you do in your country of origen. ie sign in at the ayuntamiento. OK, you should find out about it, but some people are just not very "worldly wise" for want of a better way of saying it.
I still think that the building shouldn't go up in the first place. The local council and usually the local people and police all know which is "rustic" ground and which isn't. It could all be easily stopped. You should certainly never give someone an hour to get out of their house and bulldoze down their life.
I wonder if one of the big problems is, like where I live, that for several years the mayor was also the main constructor in the area.
:confused: :confused: :confused:
 
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