British residents from the towns of Zurgena and Arboleas, in the Valle del Almanzora in Almeria, met last week in Arboleas with the lawyer for AUAN, Gerardo Vazquez, in which he explained the measures being taken by the Junta de Andalucia, to put an end to their planning nightmare.
Also present in the meeting was Maura Hillen, the president of AUAN, a veteran of these planning struggles, whose work for the protection of the British citizens has been recognised by the British government.
During the meeting, Sr. Vazquez explained the importance of the recent instruction, 6/2019, from the General Directorate of Urban Planning in the Junta de Andalucia.
This instruction is aimed at allowing a way out for irregular houses already included in an unexecuted town plan, normally on unconsolidated urban land, via a permit known as an “AFO”. Curiously the AFO is already permitted for houses that have a greater environmental impact, that is to say those situated in a rural location and not destined to be incorporated into a municipal plan.
This measure is due to be followed by a Decree that, it is hoped, will be approved in the coming weeks, that is expected to extend the AFO to houses situated on urbanisations, known as asentamientos, that have yet to be incorporated into a town plan.
Sr. Vazquez explained the great personal satisfaction that he felt when he helped to put an end to the planning nightmare suffered by people from other countries who came here to buy a house and who were let down. Sr. Vazquez mentioned, to give a single example, that just a few days ago a British family in their eighties had at last been able to use an AFO to obtain the deeds for their house after a wait of 17 years.
He explained how they had told him. “17 years ago, we went to the Notary to register our house. After a delay, where we could see some nervousness, we were told the there was a little problem and we would have to wait a few days… from that day we have spent 17 years of worry and anguish until at last we have now been able to register our house with an AFO”.
It is expected the Britons, who can now benefit from the change in criteria from the Junta, will begin to submit requests for an AFO in the coming days. Maura Hillen, confirmed this saying “That’s right. Those affected are looking at this possibility with great hope, and we are recommending that they take up this opportunity and begin to act”.
She added, “From AUAN we hope that the affected town halls will apply the law correctly and appropriately in a manner the respects the rights of citizens, using the new tools that the Junta has given them, and we will be vigilant that they do so”.