Cantoria residents marching for their property rights, government starts to listen

A group of British residents in Cantoria, Almeria, is organising a peaceful protest march to highlight the plight of foreign property owners in the region, many of whom are living under the threat of demolition. The march will take place in Cantoria at midday on Thursday 18 September.

“We are holding a peaceful protest to highlight the situation of many properties in Cantoria, some of which are subject to the threat of demolition; but also to protest against the real estate and planning irregularities in the area of the Almanzora Valley and elsewhere, and the grave situation many homeowners find themselves in since purchasing their properties in good faith,” explain the organisers of the march.

‘We bought in good faith: Save our homes. Stop planning and real estate abuse: Regularisation now’ is the slogan the organisers have chosen for the demonstration.

Around 20 houses in the El Fas district of Cantoria, most of them owned by British retirees, are under threat of demolition. The authorities have told owners to seek compensation from the developer who sold them their homes (read more about illegal homes under threat of demolition in Cantoria).

A glimmer of hope for Cantoria’s residents came with the news that officials from the town planning department of the regional government in Seville will visit the Almanzora region in September to analyse the situation, and “try to find solutions.”

This suggests that the authorities, in some areas at least, are starting to respond to pressure from groups representing foreign property owners.

The majority of the hundreds of illegal homes in the region could be legalised in updated urban plans, town planning officials told the Spanish press. The same sources stressed, however, that properties illegally built in areas at risk of flooding, such as dry river beds, have no hope of legalisation.

It has also been reported that the authorities have ruled out more demolitions in the immediate future. “There are no firm demolition orders,” town planning sources are quoted as saying.

Though a relief, this claim must leave Janet and Frank Doel, a British couple who own an ‘illegal’ property, thoroughly confused. They were served with a demolition order on June 2, giving them 2 months to demolish their home. “Procedures are underway, but there are no demolition orders,” insist officials from the Andalucian Government, quoted in the Spanish press.

For more information on the march in Cantoria contact Bruce Hobday on 0034 662 413 075

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