BRITISH AMBASSADOR Giles Paxman met members of the Valencian Regional Government on Monday to discuss issues affecting expats living in the area – with property high on the agenda.Problems over property rights, planning abuses, and illegal homes experienced by a significant number of UK citizens were discussed and regional government ministers promised a working party to seek a solution.However, campaign and protest groups across the region have underlined there must be independent representation by experts outside the government and construction industries and hope to be allowed a direct input themselves.During a series of meetings, Mr Paxman was accompanied by Consul Paul Rodwell, who represents the interests of British nationals resident in the autonomy and the millions of holidaymakers who visit each year.Ministers emphasised the importance of the British residents and tourists to Valencia’s economy – it is estimated tourists alone spend 1.3 billion euros a year.And through the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Alberto Fabra, the government expressed its willingness to work with the British Embassy in Madrid and the Alicante Consulate to address issues facing the British population.It was agreed on all sides that efforts must be increased to help Brits integrate more successfully into local communities. Language skills were seen as central to the problem and both sides discussed the possibility of developing a language exchange programme.SUPPORTMr Paxman and Mr Rodwell also met Jorge Cabre Rico, Minister for Justice and Welfare, and discussed the role of volunteers in supporting disadvantaged and isolated groups of British residents.It was hoped to build on the Consultate’s successful ‘ConeXiones’ project – an initiative that brings together British charities with Spanish social services to improve support to expats though to be the most vulnerable and in need.Property was one of the most important issues discussed during the visit and the British team met Isabel Bonig, Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Environment. Mr Paxman and the Spanish politician discussed the action being taken to address property and planning problems experienced by “a large number of British residents.”The Ambassador welcomed the initiative of a working party, including town halls and planners, to try and reach a solution. Mr Paxman repeated his commitment to help local authorities and the Valencia government to address the problem, including the involvement of British nationals directly affected.After the visit, Mr Paxman said: “It is important to continue to engage with the Valencian Regional Government on issues that affect British nationals who live in and visit the region.“We hope the authorities will take forward the initiatives we have discussed, namely the working group to look at property issues and the language exchange programme. We hope to see some progress on these issues in the not too distant future.”
A press release put out by the Valencia regional government puts a different slant on the meeting………………………
No mention is made of property abuses or a move to aid British victims.
Instead it states that Sra Bonig ‘met with the British ambassador to promote the sale of homes in the Valencia region in the UK’.
It alleges that they were looking to ‘find ways that will allow properties to be sold in the UK in the context of the new campaign which the regional government has put into action’ to promote hundreds of thousands of unsold new homes.
THE PRESS release goes on to state that their figures show that Britons buy more properties in Valencia region than any other foreign nationality, making up 18.3% of the total.
“For this reason it is a priority to get the British Embassy on board for this new regional government initiative to increase the sale of holiday homes to foreigners,” states the press release.
They note that they are attempting to transmit the message that it is safe to buy homes in the Valencia region.
“We are trying to show that we have a system of technical, legal and administrative guarantees, as well as quality houses and judicial security in transactions,” notes the press release