Mr Bryant, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said he had met with politicians of the newly created Ministry of Territorial Politics and discussed controversial property laws.
As well as the notorious ‘land grab’ legislation, he said talks also included the problem of illegal property where homes bought in good faith “no longer have the right planning permission” and faced being razed to the ground.And he said central government was “very aware” of an “indiscriminate” problem that affected Spanish and ex-pats alike.
SOLUTIONMr Bryant told British journalists at the new Consulate General: “They are keen to find a solution but it is complicated. However, I am confident on some key issues the minister wants to move forward.“The minister said he felt some outrageous things had happened and he was keen to reassure me that it was very unlikely people’s houses would be taken down.”However, he accepted that in the immediate future, the nightmare for homeowners would continue and blighted properties lose value.Mr Bryant said the foreign office would also want to see what teeth the new ministry had – especially as Madrid’s political relationship with the autonomous regional governments could be “quite difficult”.And he said the Spanish minister was “very clear in saying that except in very exceptional circumstances he could not see a situation where people would have their houses pulled down.”Mr Bryant added: “I think that is very good news.”
CLARITYHe also said things would vary across the different parts of Spain and there was a need for clarity.The MP for Rhondda added it was also hoped to reach a position where a victim who bought property in good faith, only to see it torn down, would be offered another home of “similar stature and value”, or receive compensation.It is understood there are some 35,000 cases of “property issues” in Spain – around 7,000 involve foreigners and, of those, 2,500 are linked to British citizens.And Spanish and foreign citizens continue to form associations to campaign against the abuses of property and the environment caused during the country’s construction boom.The European Parliament voted earlier this year to accept MEP Margrete Auken’s scathing report on the problem – which called for funding to Spain to be put on ice until action is taken.A Danish politician, Ms Auken will tour parts of Alicante including a tour of Lliber this weekend and to meet resident associations affected by Valencia’s property legislation and the national Coastal Law to gauge feeling on the ground.She will also speak at an open meeting on Saturday September 26th at 18.00 until 20.00 at the Hotel Sun Palace, Alfaz del Pi
Round Town News-Jack Troughton