A shepherd in Murcia has won his long battle to block a massive Golf development near Jumilla, saving his land at a cost to his health.
In 2006, at the height of Spain’s crazed real estate boom, the municipal council of Jumilla, a small town a long way from the coast in Murcia, approved a plan to build 15,000 homes around two golf courses, in an area without much water to speak of. The plan included the compulsory purchase of 30 hectares of land belong to a stubborn local shepherd called Pascual Carrión, whom the developer assumed could be won around with money like all the rest.
Carrión was offered €2.6 million for his land, but didn’t trust the developer, so refused to cooperate. Other small landowners in the area who went along with the proposal were never paid, according to Spanish press reports. Carrión went to court to block the development, which pitted him against the powers-that-be in his corner of Spain. Millions of Euros were at stake, and I can only imagine the pressure he must have been under from locals with a vested interest.
The Spanish justice system moves at a snail’s pace, which is why it has taken seven years to reach a decision. A judge has ruled the project cannot go ahead because there is not enough water to support the number of homes planned, as argued by Carrión.
For Carrión, the victory has come at a high personal cost. “I get to keep my land but I’ve also had heart surgery for my troubles,” he told the press.
In the meantime, the development has long since ceased to be viable, now that banks aren’t throwing money at any old project. It has no chance of getting finance, and the developer went into administration back in 2008. The crash was going to put a stop to the project anyway.
But some people don’t know when to give up. The developer plans to appeal the decision and present a new plan with a smaller footprint that doesn’t include any land belonging to Pascual Carrión, according to press reports.