AUAN,10th December 2014

17 more demolition orders in Cantoria.

Homeowners associations representing hundreds of people affected by the problem of illegal houses, SOHA and AUAN, are pressing for an urgent meeting with the Spanish Minister for Justice, Rafael Catala, with the backing of the Council of Bar Associations of Andalusia.

Maura Hillen, the president of AUAN said, ‘The British of the Valley of Almanzora are in a state of shock and anguish faced with the continued revelations of possible future demolitions.

The problem is getting worse rather than better and urgent measures are required if there is to be any hope of foreign investment in the affected areas’. She added ‘If we continue at this rate, we run the risk of creating social and economic wasteland in the affected areas. We believe that this is an important issue for everybody and that positive measures need to be taken urgently’.

With regard to the demolition order on 17 houses in the area of ‘Media Legua’ in Cantoria without any order of compensation for those that live there, Mrs Hillen said ‘the British of the Valley of Almanzora are defenceless. I am not a legal expert, but as an ordinary citizen reading the notices in the press, I do not understand how, given the suspicion and the apparent evidence that these houses are inhabited, nothing was apparently done to notify the inhabitants and owners of these houses of the existence of proceedings, so that they could defend themselves against a sentence which ordered the demolition of their home. I wonder why there was no chance to do so in the many years that this case has lasted’.

Added Maura Hillen: ‘Whilst we respect the sentence of the Criminal Court, we are forced to disagree with it. We do not understand why there is a difference between this case and the notorious case of Mr and Mrs Prior, whose house was demolished without giving them the opportunity to defend themselves and without any order of compensation. In the case of the Priors the Constitutional Court said that their constitutional rights had been infringed because they had not been notified.

We wonder if official notices were published in the current case to notify potential residents. In other cases we have seen the owners identified via the Town Hall.

The easiest thing is to arrange a visit of the local police to the houses, or request information from the Padron of residents or ask the Diputacion for information about who pays the taxes for collecting rubbish or make enquiries at the electricity or water companies.

Via all of these sources one can obtain information about the inhabitants of these houses. We especially would like to know why, if there was a suspicion that the houses were occupied and the court NOW orders that the owners be notified of the sentence, why they didn’t notify them in the last 10 years?’

Regarding a meeting with the Minister for Justice she said ‘We want to explain to the Minister what is happening to purchasers in good faith who came to Spain to invest their life savings and to live here for the rest of their days, and who are now faced with the loss of their home and their savings.

They are at a time in their life when it is too late to make over their lives because they are pensioners. If this is not an injustice, what is an injustice? We see this as a flagrant injustice and, given that the law must be just, we are asking for a change in the Criminal code to avoid these situations’.

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