The publicly owned company Tragsa is carrying out the demolition work of these houses, which were finally declared illegal in 2009.
This is the second illegal urbanización to be demolished in the autonomous region of Cantabria, the first being Playa de La Arena in the municipality of Arnuero where over 100 houses were pulled down.
Nevertheless, there are still another 600 houses lined up for demolition, owing to several court sentences. And of course, there are the unfortunate property owners, who bought their properties in good faith. The Regional Government has enacted several laws to try to deal with this particular problem.
In the case of the construction of Urbanización Alto de El Cuco, which had been authorised in 2004 by the Ayuntamiento de Piélagos, the development company’s insurance company, Martinsa Fadesa, was forced to return the money to the home buyers.
The Town Hall had autorised these 214 houses as part of a plan parcial – an often wise, shady procedure that town halls all over Spain use to bend urban development restrictions.
The said plan parcial was annulled by the regional supreme court in 2007, but the houses had already been built… better said, 214 had been, as the original plan was for 400.
It will take six months to complete all the demolition work and will cost a million euros. It will cost a further 2.7m euros in environmental costs to put the land back as it was.
The Mayor of Piélagos, Verónica Samperio explained that as the municipality could not afford the demolition work, the Regional Government would pay for it and that the town would have to return the money over the next ten years.
The ecologist group, the ARCA, which had originally denounced the urbanización, considers that the environmental-restoration work planned is a fraud.
Its Spokesman, Javier García Oliva, is dismayed that the plan is to leave all the rubble there as a base for a ‘park.’ He pointed out that what is being planned has nothing to do with a strict interpretation of the court sentence.
Editorial comment: It sounds like politicians are responsible for this mess, yet there is no mention of their being held to account, much less having to pay from their own pocket for the damaged caused and the cost of putting it right.
(News: Peilagos, Cantabria)