Ecologists call for measures against disobedience of owners of illegal homes

Fecha Publicación: 
7 Mayo 2012

An organisation has called for the Junta to set deadlines for the ‘regularisation’ decree to be adhered to

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Ecologist organisations based in the Axarquía have expressed their concern at the lack of support given to the Junta de Andalucía’s decree to legalise homes built on rural land by property owners and by some town halls. Two months after the new ruling came into force the number of applications made to the local authorities has been minimal.
Now the organisation Gena-Ecologistas en Acción, which estimates that some 22,000 homes in the Axarquía are in an irregular situation, has asked the Junta de Andalucía to take measures to put an end to what it describes as “disobedience” on the part of the property owners. The request forms part of the list of objections Gena has drawn up with regard to the guidelines published recently by the Public Works Department to establish the minimum requirements for a property to be considered habitable.
The organisation has suggested that the Public Works Department set a deadline for owners to adhere to the decree and apply for legalisation. “Once this time limit is up, the Junta de Andalucía - rather than the town halls because they would never do it - should start to demolish properties”, said the Gena coordinator Rafael Yus.
The group understands that there is a general reluctance on the part of the town halls and property owners to adopt the procedure established in the decree.
“This ruling has been greeted with rejection, scepticism and disobedience, under the belief that it is entirely at the discretion of those affected (town halls and owners) as to whether they accept or reject the regulation, without there being any apparent administrative or criminal consequences for such disobedience. This makes us believe that it is necessary to establish a deadline”, explained Yus.
The organisation even went so far as to say that the lack of action on the part of the town halls could have the effect of attracting further construction on land not designated for building.
If this were to happen, according to the environmental association, what in practice will have been “regulated (not just regularised) is a procedure to build in an anarchic manner on ‘non-urbanisable’ land, with all its environmental, planning and financial consequences. This is why a time frame should be established for the application of the decree, which comprises exclusively the period before this was published”.
In this way Gena proposes that the legalisation ruling can only be applied to properties built before the date the decree came into force, which means that it could not be used to legalise any property built after March 2012.
The association has also called for the Junta to oblige local town halls to draw up an inventory of properties built illegally in their municipalities within a year. “If they refuse to do this, their planning power would be taken from them and the Junta would act subsidiarily”, proposes the association.
Further requests made by Gena include the demolition of all half-finished buildings, “as a sign of the rule of authority”, and for the sale on the market of properties in the category of ‘fuera de ordenación’ to be made totally impossible, “to avoid the main attraction of rural homes: property investment and speculation. 

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