UK expat family to lose home to compulsory purchase

Published:  2 May at 6 PM
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A disabled British expat, his carer wife and her mother have just two months to leave their Spanish home before it’s knocked down to make room for a bypass.

John Grey and his wife Deborah purchased their dream villa in Alhaurin el Grande in 2003 at a cost of €66,000 after moving from Hertfordshire. Sadly, in 2014 John suffered a stroke which left him with limited mobility, with necessary renovations and a mobility scooter costing another €30,000.

Some time during 1994, long before the Greys bought their two-bedroomed, two-bathroomed house, plans for a one-way road system had been mooted but were put on hold. In 2015, the couple were informed the plans would be going ahead but would not impact on the house, only on the extension they’d built for Deborah’s 77-year old mother.

Two months ago, the family was shocked to discover that plans for the road had been changed and the house itself would have to be demolished. The local council offered €35,000 as compensation, less than one-third of the property’s total cost including renovations. The only non-cash alternative they were given was a move to a co-owned plot including planning permission for two villas.

John, a retired bricklayer, now suffers from a lung disease as well as currently being tested for cancer, and Deborah’s mother has a heart condition requiring full-time care. All three are devastated by the council’s offer, with Deborah telling local media the amount is an insult and means they can neither build nor buy another home in the area.

The couple have approached a local law firm in the forlorn hope the compulsory purchase order can be rescinded. Deborah is heartbroken, but adds she hasn’t given up the fight. Life, she says, has to go on, but she’s already packing everything up in case the worst happens. She’s resigned to the fact that, if her home is demolished, there won’t be enough money to rebuild in another location.

A spokesperson from the local authority refused to discuss the case with a reporter from a local English language newspaper, adding that plans for the new one-way system had already been drawn up. He was unwilling to confirm exactly when the work would commence, leaving the Greys still unable to make plans for their as yet uncertain future.
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