British couple seeking compensation for demolished home win important legal battle

Len and Helen Prior, a retired British couple whose home in Almeria was demolished last year by the Andalucian authorities, have won an important battle in their fight for compensation.

The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that the demolition order was illegal for not having followed correct procedures that would have given the Priors a chance to defend their case. The ruling to demolish their home took place without their knowledge, and with no chance of appeal, which the Supreme Court has found infringed the Prior’s legal rights.

16 months ago, in January 2008, that demolition order was used to tear down the Prior’s villa, as they looked on helplessly. Len Prior collapsed as his home was demolished.

Video of events leading up to and including demolition of Prior’s home

The Priors, who are fighting for 600,000 Euros in damages from the town hall, have been living in their garage ever since.

The Priors built their villa in Vera with planning permission from the town hall, but regional planning authorities argued that the building licence was invalid. According to Spanish planning laws, town halls have the authority to grant building licences.

No explanation has been given as to why, with tens of thousands of illegally built properties in Andalucia – close to 20,000 in Marbella alone – only the Prior’s home has been demolished.

+ Authorities argue over who should compensate Priors for demolished home

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