News Articles

05/09/2011 - Consul meets property scandal victims in Llíber

HOMEOWNERS in Lliber affected by the illegal home scandal received a visit from
British consulate for the Valencia and Murcia regions, Paul Rodwell and British embassy adviser in Madrid, Alexandra Brown.

With the consulate currently being filmed by a UK television channel, they were interested to hear first hand the issues affecting residents in the village and to discuss with the new PP mayor, what his plans are regarding this issue.

Representatives from various areas within Lliber were present and President of the AULN, Adrian Hobbs gave an overview of the situation which started in 1999 when homes began to be built, and explained that the majority affected are British. He explained that it is difficult to sell an illegal house, unless someone is willing to take the gamble, there is a lack of secure water and electricity to the properties and little tax is being paid. Mr. Hobbs also said how since the new party has taken over in the town hall, the Concierto Previo has been signed off.

Each representative was given the opportunity to explain the situation within their area and Peter Nolan from Masias, La Cuta explained that those affected in their area all trod the same path and said, "We all bought off plan and followed the same route, but everyone, lawyers, builders and town hall were all part of the scam as no one said as we passed through the stages that there was anything wrong.

"The majority employed English lawyers and with people still living in the UK, power of attorney was signed to them to pay the instalments, however when a stop order was placed by Seprona on the land, we were not informed."

Off the 25 properties in Masias, 13 were completed whilst the others remain unfinished and many do not have water or electricity, and one homeowner sold his property after he had two nervous break downs, losing around 100,000 euros.

On another scale, Ken Speed explained how his property was built by a family member, who they trusted however they do not have water, it has to be brought in by a tank and they are still on builders supply electricity and he said, "I want to leave the house to

my children but how can I with these issues hanging over it?"

Another couple, David and Lynda Dawes say it was the worst decision they have made moving to Lliber. For the past eight years they have lived with a generator and their whole lives have been affected, they said, "We cannot put on more than one appliance at a time, nor can we have a freezer during the hot weather.

"We can't even stay out at friends for too long as we have to get home to re-charge the generator and the stress is dreadful."

Others attending told of similar stories and many said that people don't seem to matter and their human rights are not being respected. They also say they would like to contribute and pay taxes. One resident John Mason says he loves living in Lliber but

explained how his house is not located on his land whilst another, Maggie Woolmer said of the 14 illegal properties in her development, two people have died, another terminally ill and another has moved back to the UK.

Having listened to the homeowners, Paul Rodwell said he could see the massive affect it is having on the people and it was a real shame that they are in this situation and said, "Of the 340,000 British I look after, you are a small pocket but with major issues.

"As a team we are trying our best and working constantly. The case is very extreme and it is high up on Giles Paxman's agenda and he has been engaging with government at a high level as have Alexandra and I been meeting with the Valencian and local governments."

Following the meeting, the consuls plus Adrian Hobbs, David Glover and Maggie Woolmar were invited to attend a meeting with the new mayor, José Juan Reus Reus. During this meeting the mayor explained since entering the town hall on June 11, he was able to have the Concierto Previo passed on June 17 and has had meetings with technicians regarding the General Plan (PGOU) on June 27 and August 10. As well the mayor has visited the Alicante Catastro director and the director of Suma.

Sr. Reus Reus also announced, in September an informative meeting will take place to inform residents of the situation.

The consulates were also introduced to Suzanne McAllister, the new councillor for foreign residents. This is the first time this post has been created in Lliber and Paul Rodwell congratulated her and believed this was a positive step forward, Mrs McAllister said, "European residents can come to the town hall and we can work together, face to face, to find solutions for their problems, no matter how small."

Paul Rodwell also explained the importance in solving the water and electricity

problems to affected homeowners and the mayor said, "We are working in the present and so far have achieved a lot. We did not change anything in the Concierto Previo, nor

have we on the PGOU. Even though it is August, we are working and our meetings

show that we are trying to find solutions and we will not stop until we find them."

Closing, Paul Rodwell spoke of the importance of communication, saying that British residents bring a lot to the town and told the mayor they have full support from the consulate.

Adrian Hobbs said he was very encouraged by what the mayor and his team are doing, as was David Glover and said they will give all the assistance they can, should it be required.

Before the Llíber meeting, the consul and Alexandra Brown also visited Valle del Sol in Murcia, where British residents are facing similar problems with their properties.