There's been quite a volume of comment so far from the European Residents on the upcoming protest (see following entry). The important thing, of course, is that it is successful. Friday 9th, January: 12 noon in Puerto de Perchena, Almería City. Free buses from Los Gallardos, Vera, Albox and so on. See www.aulan.es
Here is a link to video footage of the Priors demolition. Please watch it and at this time of goodwill to all men, see if you can find it in your hearts to support them. You Tube Here is their story, the facts not the fiction, direct from Len and Helen Prior. http://www.almanzora-au.org/The_Priors.htm If none of the above rocks your boat, then ask yourselves, ´what is the value of your home now? Whether your home is legal or not, the housing market is pretty much dead in the water until this situation is resolved. This affects everyone, legal or not, so get out on the streets of Almería on the 9th Jan.
Transportation: Those who wish to travel in chartered buses should immediately contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 950 069 558
Forums en español
This protest is about much more than the Priors and their disgraceful treatment. Imagine we obtain some compensation for them or that the Junta caves in and apologises... would that be the end of the protest? Total victory?
This is about generalised (and institutionalised) property fraud in a 21st century European state. It's about notaries and mayors and town hall architects and the people from 'costas' and the man from the 'delegación provincial' (Seville's gauleiter in Almería). It's about 'land grab', 'inherited mortgages', unfair re-zoning, sleight-of-hand, trickery and fraud. Thousands of homes are under some blackmail, whether to pay to be regularized or to be knocked down. The Europeans who settle in Spain do so because it's safe. They bring money with them which helps support the small towns where they wish to live. Everybody should win.
When the Junta de Andalucia knocks down a 22 storey hotel in a national park/on the beach, then we can re-consider their policy regarding building.
Here's what the protestors will be handing in to the Junta de Andalucía representative:
Demonstration Almeria City 9 January 2009:
We, the demonstrators, are asking for:
1. Study Commission: That a Study Commission be established, with representatives from the government and citizens’ groups (including those for the protection of homeowners’ rights and ecologists):
- To investigate the serious planning and environmental problems, to draw up a report on the causes of said problems and their possible solutions, as well as recommendations for the future.
- To follow up any measures adopted to resolve said problems, as a consulting body, ensuring maximum publicity of and transparency in all procedures.
- In both the investigation and follow-up, particular care will be taken to respect the following principles: 1) The necessity of full adherence of EU community law and fundamental rights, including those covered by the European Agreement for the Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms as well as the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights; 2) The true needs of the cities and towns affected; 3) The sustainability of the environment and the need to preserve the historical and cultural identity of the affected areas; 4) That developers, officials and other third parties responsible for these problems should rectify the damages caused in a real and effective manner; 5) The threat of demolition of property acquired in good faith should only occur in exceptional cases and only when previous and real compensation has been guaranteed; 6) The legitimate right of purchasers of property acquired legally must be recognised and criteria established according to Art. 33 of the Spanish Constitution with respect to public and social interest in order to prevent and prohibit that decisions made by local and regional authorities can infringe on personal rights of ownership; 7) When it becomes necessary to compensate the loss of real estate property under any circumstances, such compensation must be made prior to the loss of the property and according to adequate valuations and the laws of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights; 8) Any process of regularisation should, as much as possible, be in the form of binding agreements (including adequate guarantees) between those who have caused the irregularities and the various administrations. The above is almost entirely in accordance with recommendations made by the European Parliament in its Resolution dated 21 June 2007 based on results collected during their fact-finding visit to the Autonomous Communities of Andalucia, Valencia and Madrid carried out on behalf of the Committee of Petitions.
2. ARBITRATION: A special administrative commission composed in a similar fashion as the Study Commission and guided by the same principles to be created. This commission should include a provincial public defender, advised by independent investigation services including representatives from the appropriate administrations and from citizens’ groups (including those for the defence of property owners and ecology groups), and with arbitration powers over conflicts related to these problems. The commission should be available to affected parties free of charge (point 12 of above Resolution).
3. MORATORIUM: A moratorium on any pending procedures which could result in the demolition of houses should be put into effect while the Study Commission carries out its work.
4. ELECTRICITY AND WATER: Any house which has been occupied in the past three years should be temporarily permitted electricity and water services until the regularisation process has been concluded.
5. TRANPARENCY AND PARTICIPATION: Notice of any planning or environmental procedure should be communicated individually to all those affected, directly or indirectly, as well as publicised widely, not only limited to publication in the relevant Bulletins (point 10 of above Resolution).
6. PROTOCOL: A protocol should be established related to the precise steps and standardised procedures with regards to the purchase and sales of real estate to individual homeowners, such as those in other EU member states such as the UK which will include:
- The following related certificates which must be issued by the relevant administrative body: 1) Planning; 2) Environmental; 3) Catastral and Land Registry.
- Standardised sales contracts and deeds
- Set deadlines to complete each stage related to property purchases or construction to be required by law
7. CATASTRAL & LAND REGISTRY: Information in these two registries must be identical with topographical documentation in the Land Registry.
8. REAL ESTATE AGENTS: Should be 1) licensed or able to prove that they have passed an examination related to their knowledge and abilities; 2) have adequate insurance to cover all civil liabilities; 3) clearly regulated in their activities.
9. PROMOTERS & CONSTRUCTORS: These must be subject to bonds, guarantees or other insurance to cover any third-party liabilities including from buyers, administrations, for environmental issues, etc. Proof that such guarantees are valid should be required before any property transaction whatsoever.
10. PRIOR FAMILY: The Junta de Andalucia should immediately compensate the Prior family, carrying out any action against third parties which it deems necessary, without the Priors having to undertake any further legal action in order to attain such compensation.