Councillor-cum-Builder Scandal

AXA Councillor Illegal AperoA councillor at the Torrox Town Hall has been caught over an illegal build; an 24-sq/m apero (mini cortijo) without a licence in an area known as El Merlí.

Councillor for the Ciudadanos party, Manuel Martín, built the structure – he is also a builder – for a German couple, who had hired him for the task three years ago. He also built a water tank and paved a terrace there.

The councillor is looking at a fine of between 75% and 150% of the value of the building work.

The said councillor claims that when he began work on the project he was unaware that there was no building licence. He said that they showed him the documents that they had and the request for a licence, so decided to enquire at the Town Hall what the situation was and that three years down the line the couple still hadn’t received the licence.

He also claims that once the licence is issued – the work is perfectly legal, as far as dimensions and the area where it stands go, so there should be no problem legalising it.

Councillor Martín appears to be quite ‘mobile’ where his political allegiance goes as he has been a councillor at the Town Hall since 1999, starting first in the PP, before leaving them for the PIU (2011-2109) and then ending up in the Ciudadanos.

Although the Town Hall has initiated an official reprimand (which could lead to the said fine) the Councillor claims that he has received no official notification concerning its existence.

Editorial comment: consider this hypothesis: a local building company belonging to a councillor approaches foreign residents who want to build a mini cortijo (apero, which is actually a farm storage building). He tells them not to worry about a building licence as he is a councillor and will have no trouble getting one by pulling a few strings. The foreigners agree but the councillor never bothers and just builds anyway… This is just a “let’s say” scenario; not an accusation. Does it sound likely to you?

It would be interesting to hear from the German couple on this.

(News: Torrox, Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)

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