Caretaker Government in Madrid trying to block the planning amnesty for rural homes in Andalusia

andalusian planning amnesty

“Punish the guilty, not the victims!” Owners of illegal homes in Andalusia are trapped by the planning system.

The acting Socialist Government in Madrid has started Constitutional Court proceedings against the Andalusian planning amnesty that offers relief to thousands of elderly property owners in the region.

Madrid is arguing that Andalusia doesn’t have the powers to grant a new planning status for some 300,000 rural homes that were built without property planning permission. You can read all about this planning amnesty in Andalusia here.

This is what the homeowners campaign group AUAN (Abusos Urbanisticos Andalucia NO) has to say about the news:

A NOT VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS FOR HOMEOWNERS AS THE GOVERNMENT OF SPAIN (PSOE) ATTEMPTS TO OVERTURN ANDALUSIA’S DECREE TO REGULARISE 327,000 HOMES

Those affected express their surprise that the government is trying to act against the environment and the right to adequate housing.

Faced with the news that the acting national government is questioning the Andalusian Decree to regularise houses and the possibility that they will challenge it before the Constitutional Court, those affected declare their consternation, and do not understand how the acting government of Spain can behave in this way.

Maura Hillen, president of Abusos Urbanísticos Andalucía No (AUAN) states: “ The European Union has announced possible actions against Spain for its inadequate treatment of sewage from houses, and here in Andalusia there are hundreds of thousands of irregular houses without adequate sanitation. For example, it is known that in Chiclana thousands of people have been in this position for years, without any action from the national government to resolve this problem. It is the same in Carmona, and I could mention many more areas where this is happening. For this reason, the regional government of Andalusia developed Decree 3/2019 containing urgent measures for the environmental adaptation of irregular houses in Andalusia. This Decree was preceded by other measures promoted by the PSOE with the support of Izquierda Unida in some cases. This decree has been very well received by society in Andalusia and now we see with horror how the acting national government is trying to overthrow this much wanted measure. We do not understand and we hope the it is a misunderstanding”.

Mrs Hillen added, “What is not acceptable is that people continue to bathe in water contaminated with faecal matter as happens in many places. Not only is this a third world situation, but it runs the risk that some day there could be a disgraceful epidemic, and questions will be asked about who is at fault”.

For his part, Gerardo Vázquez, legal advisor to AUAN and spokesperson for the National Coordinating Committee for Justice in Planning says “it would be terrible if the Spanish government attempts to impugn the Decree in the Constitutional Court, as appears to be the case. It is not only an environmental issue; we are talking about the most basic rights of people, the right to a home, to a residence and to a house; and this are real issues, not paper theories. It is not only the environment; it is people’s lives. I am sick and tired that people are dying without solutions. I do not understand the attitude of the government. Last week yet another of those affected, someone known to me, died without being able to obtain paperwork for their house. And I have been contacted by another poor lady whose house has been demolished, after cutting off the electricity to her house whilst she was on dialysis in the house, and this lady has nowhere adequate left to live. Please, we need to be sensible and work together to resolve these issues urgently”.

Sr. Vázquez finished by saying “the regularisation decree was approved with the votes in favour of all parties, including the PSOE, with the exception of Adelante Andalucia whom I believe would have abstained if the regulation was approved another way, and now the acting central government impugns his Decree. I believe that it is a misunderstanding. We ask for the help of all political parties to make the government see how terrible it would be to annul the Regularisation Decree. I trust that they will throw a lifeline to those affected and that the government reconsiders.”

Why are the Socialists in Madrid messing with this amnesty in Andalusia when even the local Socialists voted for it, I ask myself? Perhaps because they are trying to please their new hard-left coalition partners Podemos, who position themselves as environmentalists who oppose anything that looks like a planning amnesty, as I argue here: Andalusian parliament endorses planning solution for illegally-built homes in the face of opposition from environmentalists

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008).

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