The new left-wing local government of Chiclana, on the Costa de la Luz, will make sorting out the 15,000 odd illegal properties in the municipality one of its top priorities, reports the Spanish press.
The former mayor, of the right-of-centre Popular Party, was booted out by voters worried about the high cost of providing neighbourhoods of illegally built homes with an urban infrastructure – a key requirement for legalising these properties.
The new municipal government, run by the Socialist José María Román, plans to urbanise illegal districts in phases, making the cost more manageable for residents, whilst offering grants to the least affluent owners.
Nevertheless, the new government is adamant that owners of illegal properties will ultimately bear “100%” of the cost of legalising and urbanising their properties and neighbourhoods. “What we can’t do is make it so expensive that they can’t afford it,” explains local Mayor José María Román, justifying the use of grants and subsidies to help owners pay the costs associated with legalising their properties.
The strategy of legalising and urbanising in phases is “adapted to suit the wallets of the locals,” Román told the Spanish press, whilst also explaining that priority will be given to installing water, electricity, and sewage systems in illegal districts.
With Chiclana’s reputation damaged by the illegal property scandal, the town council has hired a PR company to improve the town’s image abroad, and promote a campaign selling “the new optimism” of Chiclana.