A British couple, Janet and David Hartshorn, have been given an eight month prison sentence and ordered to demolish their home.
The couple, who live in Torrox, Málaga, were granted a licence to rehabilitate a 24 square metre rural property but built a 240 square metre property in its place. As a result, they were found guilty of a crime against town ordination because permission was only granted for a small 24 square metre home.
The pair purchased the 1,451 square metre plot in 2000. It was non-buildable land but had the ruins of a small building on it. In July 2001 they asked Torrox Town Hall for a works licence, which was granted the following February by the municipal architect because it requested work to conserve the building and there was no project to increase the size of the construction, although a swimming pool was considered. Malaga Hoy reports that the accused built a detached chalet type property, with a new floor, basement, swimming pool, and put tarmac on the exterior perimeter, to an area of about 240 square metres. They were instructed to halt the building in 2004 but continued until it was completed in July 2010.
They have also been issued with a fine of over 73,000€ and instructed to return the land to its original state and demolish the building. The judge said that the ruling is in response to the needs of the times saying it would not be conceivable in any state of law that anyone could build anything they wished and the planning laws were there for a reason.