From Diario de Cádiz 13th March 2009 - translated by Andrew Brown
Chiclana, which has an estimated 15,000 illegal houses (the majority being subject to proposed urbanisation) yesterday witnessed its first demolition of an illegal house.
This event, which probably heralds further action in the coming weeks and months, took place early yesterday (12th March) in la Majada de los Chivos, in El Marquesado, was the demolition at the instigation of the Council’s Urbanisation Department of a dwelling of 90 sq m built on a plot of 500 sq m in an urbanisable zone. It was the property of Juan Utrera, from Medina Sidonia.
According to sources at the Council “after seeking authority from the courts to enter the property – which is a second home – and demolish it, an order was made on 12th January this year granting leave which expired after two months, a period which would have ended today, Thursday.” This period was allowed to run its course by the Council in the hope that the proprietors, in order to reduce the costs of carrying out the order, would proceed with the demolition themselves, but in the event they did not do so.
It should be stressed that the Council began action against this property in January 2006 “when it was only at the stage of laying foundations,” said Cándida Verdier, from the Council.
However, according to the Council the builders, who were also the owners of the land, “did not stop building and constructed a house of 90 sq me on a plot of 500 sq m.”
Later, in October 2007, the Council, led by the former Urbanisation Councillor José Pedro Butrón, “sought the demolition which was then approved by the then Mayor, Ernesto Marín.
“It is obvious that an action of this kind always involves a domestic upheaval which is unpleasant for everyone, including the Council. However,” Cándida Verdier emphasised, “no-one should doubt that the Council is duty-bound to carry out any judicial order.”
She added, “We hoped, right up to the last minute, that the proprietors themselves would carry out the work and minimise the costs but they have not done so and therefore today – the final day for carrying out the order – we have undertaken the demolition ourselves.”
Furthermore, the Urbanisation Councillor acknowledged that “in the coming days there will be another demolition of an illegal property,” and confirmed the existence of other court orders authorising demolition, the number of which she would not specify, but which are waiting only for the service of papers on the relevant proprietors.
Note: it is not clear from the article exactly why this house was chosen for action by the Council when it appears to have been built on yellow hatched land rather than on white or green land. Clearly the fact that the owners ignored an order when they first started would not have endeared them to the Council. We are trying to establish the background to the case and will add a rider to this article as soon as we have more information.