The Vélez-Málaga Town Hall proceeded with the demolition of a cortijo belonging to a retired British couple in the Almayate Alto area since 2005.
They had bought the cortijo in ruins and applied for a municipal licence to do it up, which was granted. However, during the building work, one of the walls caved in, resulting in the Town Hall fining the couple as well as taking them to court – they considered that the building work did not match with the project..
Then, eleven years later; in other words this July, the case finally came to a conclusion with a sentence ordering the Town Hall to carry out a demolition on the 50-sq/m property, after the couple refused to have it done themselves.
The couple couldn’t face watching the demolition and had asked their daughter-in-law to get the last possessions out, but the municipal police wouldn’t let her into the house to do it.
According to the daughter-in-law, the couple plan to approach the British Consulate to see what help they can offer. Furthermore, the family intend to take their case to the European Court.
Despite Mrs Gillian Ward pleading guilty before the Spanish judge and paying a 1,000-euro fine, and even pulling down an extra room that they had built on the terrace, the judge didn’t take into all this into account nor the fact that the Wards were in the process of legalizing the property but instead ordered the demolition to go ahead.
The Wards had also received support from the association, Save Our Homes (SOHA), which has over 400 rural, property-owner members in the Axarquia area. This association had already managed to save a property under threat of demolition the hamlet of Salvarrosa in Almayate Alto.
In the meantime, the couple are living in a friend’s flat in Torre del Mar whilst they search for a home with a reasonable rent. They have nothing to move back to in the UK, “Our lives are here,” they said.
(News: Torre del Mar, Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)