Brit expat couple win over Spanish villa demolition order

Published:  22 Jan at 6 PM
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A British couple are finally celebrating their victory over a demolition order on their Spanish villa.

Valerie and Patrick Jubb, now returned from Spain and living in the Scottish Border country, purchased the four-bedroomed Vina de Linan in 2008, turning it into a luxury bed-and–breakfast nestling on a lush, green hillside in Jimena de la Frontera. Prior to their purchase, the villa had undergone alterations and renovations approved and signed off by the local authority.

The couple ran the business until early in 2015, at which point they decided to sell up and move back to Scotland. A buyer was found, but their dream was shattered when they received an order to demolish the swimming pool, the first floor and the kitchen in spite of the fact they’d a government certificate stating there were no outstanding planning issues. In fact, the required alterations had been completed in 1994 and signed off in 2005, three years prior to the couple’s purchase of the villa.

It seems the problem had arisen due to the property’s location within the Alcornocales Natural Park, meaning the usual four-year rule didn’t apply and making the original alterations illegal. Three years of hell later, and with some €20,000 spent on legal fees, a Spanish court decided the land registry was wrong in approving the earlier alterations and cancelled the villa’s demolition order.

Patrick and Valerie are over the moon, with Valerie telling reporters from the local English language newspaper she feel ‘totally betrayed’ by the local authority, especially as she’d run an animal rescue centre neutering and rehoming the area’s stray dogs and cats, thus saving the town hall a lot of money.

Maura Hillen, the president of a group working to legalise Andalusian properties told reporters the issue is all too common due to Andalucía’s badly controlled planning laws, failure to enforce planning regulations and far too much power in town halls across the province. The couple’s situation, she added, is simply a variation of the plight of many expats who’ve bought property in good faith only to see it torn down by order of the local authority.
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