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Britons with homes on the Costas are among those at risk from a £3.5 billion campaign by the environment ministry

Last updated on 11:36 - by El NACHO - Tags :

"The state is destroying property without any concern for the law or human rights," said Mr Ortega."This will affect more than 500,000 people along the coast in Spain, of whom up to 100,000 are foreigners, including thousands of Britons. It is illegal and totally unfair. We already have 20,000 members whose homes are threatened with demolition."Announcing the plan last November, Cristina Narbona, the environment minister, attempted to placate owners by insisting: "We won't be demolishing entire developments, even if they breach the law."The latest government drive will do little to reassure homeowners in Spain who have been affected by a string of recent scandals. Local corruption and the flouting of planning laws have allowed swathes of Spanish coastline to be developed during the past decade.The owners of 4,500 illegally built homes in Marbella are still fighting in the courts to prevent them being bulldozed.In January on the Costa Almeria, Len and Helen Prior, a British couple, won widespread sympathy from the expatriate community after the home they had bought in good faith was torn down because it allegedly breached planning regulations. They are currently living in a caravan on the site of their former three-bedroom villa and have yet to receive compensation.

Britons with homes on the Costas are among those at risk from a £3.5 billion campaign by the environment ministry to restore and protect coastal areas from over-development."This is the single biggest assault on private property we have seen in the recent history of Spain," said José Ortega, a lawyer and the head of an action group launched in Madrid to challenge the Socialist government, which is using a 20-year-old law, the Ley de Costas (Coastal Law), to clear developments along 482 miles of coastline.Under the plan properties built within 550 yards of the beach could be confiscated by the state and in some cases demolished.Even homes constructed entirely legally decades ago are being targeted.
Clifford Carter, 59, recently discovered that the villa he and his Spanish wife, Maria, have owned since 1976 is under threat.Their villa is one of 75 in a seaside development on the Costa Blanca, 10 miles south of Valencia, that has now been "rezoned"."Out of the blue we received a letter... stating that the home we have owned for over 30 years had been confiscated," he said.
The couple, who spent holidays at the two-storey villa before selling their home in Croydon, south London, and retiring there four years ago, have been given permission to remain living there."Because we bought over 30 years ago we got a concession to stay in our home but our ownership has been taken away and we can't sell it even if we wanted to," he said, adding that they had hoped one day to leave the house to their two daughters. "The indication is that the house will be demolished but we haven't been told when," said the former electrical engineer.

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