On Sunday 7th March Chris Bryant, Minister for Europe, attended a private meeting with four of the Albox families threatened with the demolition of their homes. Representatives of the AUAN were also in attendance
Also present at the meeting, were Giles Paxman, the British Ambassador, and Steve Jones, the British Consul. Mr Bryant, who was well informed on this subject, reassured the affected families that the British Government were both aware of and concerned about the situation in the area. He went on to say that, though the UK has no jurisdiction in the affairs of Spain, he would do everything in his power to help. He also referred to the detrimental economic impact this scandal has had on Spain.
Homeowners told him of the stress and legal expense they are suffering as a result of the demolition threat, despite having purchased their homes in good faith and being in possession of all the correct licences. They stressed to the minister that a quick and equitable solution was required to this problem. Maura Hillen (AUAN President) raised the disgraceful track record of the administration with respect to the payment of compensation to Helen and Len Prior and the difficulties surrounding the ‘one by one’ solution currently proposed by the Junta.
After speaking with the homeowners, the Minister went on to have a closed meeting with the Mayor of Albox, Jose Garcia. Before leaving, he spoke of a planned meeting with Juan Espadas, the Planning Minister of the Junta de Andalucia. On Saturday evening Mr Bryant had also listened to the concerns of residents from across Valencia and Murcia regions to obtain a broad picture of the situation affecting homeowners.
The AUAN are pursuing all possible avenues to bring about a solution to the problem of urban abuses in this area, including making sure the Foreign Office, UK MPs and MEPs are kept informed.
Together with any legal means available, diplomatic efforts and the pressure of public opinion are important ways to help us achieve our aim of finding a rapid and effective solution to the problem for the benefit of everyone who lives here.