March 6, 2007 at 5:23 pm #52697
March 6, 2007 at 7:53 pm #69861
Good bit of reading. It shows the problems are across Spain but was concerned why Marbella/Malaga wasnt mentioned!
Micheal Cashman has been on the land grab issue for sgaes now – I think the EU Brussells is hot air really
Doesnt help the immediate problem.
I reckon any developments under demolition will take their case to Europe for a final rulling – and the people in general will be ok!
March 7, 2007 at 1:18 pm #69875
Hi there Inez
Not sure that the EU is hot air as the Valencian government are actoing worried. They have already been issued wioth actions and it is likely it will go to the EU court of human rights and the ECJ in Strasbouirg. In fact the case has been given special dispensation to bypass the usual channels (which can take many manyyears to go through) and go directly to the courts.
Unfortunately though like all forms of justice it is seldiom swift unless you are caught speeding of course.
The fact they have been yet another time and in fact the area they are concerned about has expanded is significant becauseit means that it is no longer Valencia that is the problem. You also hgave to bear iin mind they cannot just walk in to a country or territory and demand things change, they have to actually be invited or inthis case petitioned by the petitions committee whichMichaelCashman is the vide president.
As a result of the first and second visit the Valencian government were forced to change LRAU ‘ they did so and it has changed little so because of this they have been issued what amnounts to a misdemeanour. Doesnt sound much but piotentially it could lose Spain its EU funding and theu are already investigating mis apperopriation oif EU funds in development projects
But of course everything has to be done and be seen to bne done in the corerect manner and something this big doesnt happenovernight.
However it is still a step in the right direction
March 7, 2007 at 1:23 pm #69877
Thanks Vince – I do hope so as it would be a shame for a beautiful country as this to go too far down in people eyes.
We shall have to wait and see
Have a good one.
March 7, 2007 at 1:37 pm #69878
I second the comments of Inez, it is unfortunate that the politicians have let it go this far, where it is the general public that have had to draw attention to matters, whilst the polititians have allowed parts of the Country to be raped.
I suppose the only time that they may speed matters up is if the economy really starts to be affected (or should that be when)?
March 28, 2007 at 10:46 am #70406
March 30, 2007 at 4:09 pm #70460
MEPs SLATE COSTA BUILDING
Dynamite report outlines greed and corruption
By Dave Jones
MEPs who visited the Costa Blanca earlier this month on a fact-finding mission have savaged the Valencian political establishment for allowing a catalogue of town planning abuses to occur in the region.
Their provisional report made public this week offers a stinging rejection of the Costa building model.
The 28-page document slams the ‘greed and avarice’ which has led to large-scale environmental destruction – and the violation of residents’ rights, with political corruption at town hall level cited as a major cause.
“In no other EU country are citizens rights to their property abused in this way or to this extent,” the report states.
The five-strong team of MEPs led by conservative politician Marcin Libicki flew to Spain on February 27 to talk with residents affected by development issues.
They visited Parcent, Benissa and several towns in the Vega Baja area
During the five-day trip MEPs received 68 petitions from residents and associations around Spain charting town planning abuses and related problems.
Their no-holds-barred report which was drawn up by Marcin Libicki and Michael Cashman will be presented to the European parliament with a series of recommendations which include the introduction of compensation at ‘proper rates’ for residents who have lost property.
The report states: “The Petitions Committee remains concerned and deeply troubled as a result of the persistent and long-standing denial of the legitimate rights of many European citizens in Spain, most notably in the Valencian region, to their land and their homes.
“They have become the collateral victims of many rampant urbanisation programmes founded upon legislation which provides privilege and wealth for the urbaniser and which denies individuals their very integrity.”
During their visit MEPs found that town councils ‘have concocted urban development plans less because of their real requirements related to population growth and tourism, more because of what often appears as their greed and avarice’.
The report also states that those running town halls were often related ‘in some way’ to builders operating in their municipalities.
“Hardly a day goes by without news of another mayor, or town councillor, who is investigated or charged concerning allegations of corruption related to urbanisation programmes,” the report states.The MEPs also slate unsustainable development on the Mediterranean coast.
The report states: “It is too often the spoliation of community and culture, the concretisation of the coastline, the destruction of the fragile flora and fauna and the massive enrichment of a small minority at the expense of the majority.
“Hillsides are invaded by a cancer of identikit dwellings not because they are needed but because they provide a profit for the urbaniser and the builder, for the architect and the lawyer.”
And the MEPs point out that many people who moved away from the coast have been caught out by Valencia’s notorious land laws.
“Moreover, many victims may not even be aware that their homes are jeopardised until the earth movers arrive,” the report reads.
“Victims of the land grab are counted in tens of thousands.”
MEPs also highlight the issue of illegal building and how thousands of expats have been caught out in rural municipalities.
“Another worrying phenomenon has emerged as more and more European citizens are buying property in good faith only to learn that, having paid their lawyers, their estate agents and their builders, not to mention their taxes, their homes are branded as illegal and that they have become the victims of the ruthless town halls which knowingly approve new construction on land which was not officially certified for that purpose,” the report reads.
“The citizen becomes the culprit; the municipal authority a passive go-between, the regional government has no responsibility and the national authorities claim they cannot interfere in spite of EU law and Treaty obligations.
“This is the Europe of freedom of movement, freedom of goods and services, freedom to exploit with impunity.”
AUN vice-president Charles Svoboda rated the report as another valuable step in the process that should result in fairer treatment of small property owners.
“It should give a boost to the legal proceedings in the European courts against these laws that have worked primarily to build immense fortunes for speculators and promoters,” he said.
“Perhaps for them the party is almost over.”
EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Regional planning boss Esteban González Pons struck out at the report on Wednesday comparing the MEPs’ visit to those carried out by members of the British Empire who ‘visited the colonies to see how the good savages live’.
Sr González Pons was adamant in stating the regional government will not carry out any measures until the report is debate in the European Parliament next month.
The regional builders’ association also released a statement on Wednesday claiming MEPs’ main target was to offend and depreciate the association’s members and activities.
MEPs CONDEMN VALENCIA’S INSULTS
Spanish MEPs from all parties have strongly condemned the treatment given to the EU petitions committee’s two members on their recent visit to the Valencia Region.
Michael Cashman said that during the visit he was personally insulted and that he was upset at the way certain MEPs participated in a defamation campaign against his private life and his integrity as occurred at a press conference in Valencia.
He said that during his visit this month he was accused of having a hidden agenda and of representing pressure groups. He added that veiled threats about having accidents were also made.
Spanish MEPs reacted swiftly to Mr Cashman’s statement.
Partido Popular MEP Luis Herrero said that he publicly apologised for any mistreatment given to Mr Cashman and that his party does not defend in any way that type of behaviour.
PSOE MEP Joan Calabuig said that the insults were still continuing alluding to a statement made by the PP spokesman in Valencia who allegedly said that what the EU petitions committee was doing was nothing more than a political farce.
March 30, 2007 at 4:35 pm #70462
This makes horrifying reading 😯 Even veiled threats to MEP’s. Will spain ever clean up its corruption? probably not.
March 30, 2007 at 4:49 pm #70463
You are right Katy, probably not. 🙁
However, maybe now that Michael Cashman has experienced first hand how the Spanish beaurocrats react to critism of their sloppy/corrupt governing bodies (Town Hall etc) he will have empathy/ understanding for the victims of this culture and the determination to protect and make Spain answerable for the many irregularities that exist in the construction/property “empire” it has created. We can only live in hope.
March 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm #70466
All this reminds me of a very sad story I heard last year about an elderly lady who had been royally ripped off by her developer and big-time lawyer. Paid her money but ended up with no property.
She eventually found a young lawyer who was willing to go against these ‘big boys’ and was all gun-ho at the beginning – but with time mysteriously cooled off his enthusiasm and went quiet.
When the lady in question confronted him about his change of attitude, he explained he couldn’t represent her after all. He had had a warning from the ‘opposition’ – that they had a long arm and knew where he and she lived. How’s that for Mafia tactics!
The problem is all these bully-boys (officials, devs., lawyers, agents) have ridden rough-shod over people for too long, and have a totally misguided opinion of their power, status and importance.
“Above the law” probably sums up how they’ve existed, could buy their way to achieve anything they needed, and regarded the ‘little people’ as purely their source of riches. Pay up and shut up would be a good motto for them.
However, slowly slowly, more and more people are wising up to their rights – and hammering them in court hopefully will become the norm.
Up ’til now, everyone was advised by lawyers not to bother with bringing court cases – too lengthy, too costly with no guarantee of winning whatsoever.
Well, the more of us who do so will help turn the tide, and hopefully encourage others to take a stand to all these bully boys.
Good Luck to the likes of Suzanne and Goodstich – we’re supporting you all the way!
As Phillip said, with his recent success re. La Reserva – “don’t let the ****** get away with it”.
April 12, 2007 at 2:55 pm #70788
April 17, 2007 at 7:41 pm #70897
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