1st March 2017
Yesterday I had the pleasure of being in the amphitheatre in Chiclana; I had been pre-warned that there was going to be a flashmob and very enjoyable it was too. The food and drink was exceptionally cheap at a total of two euros so i was a happy camper.
31st January 2017
I have been exceeding busy collating the necessary information from members who have not got a legal electricity supply. There are about thirty people who fall into that category so far.
When i have further news, i will update this blog
4th January 2017
I've added another couple of articles from Blevins Franks; just click on their blue logo to read these two interesting articles.
The first is about tax planning for 2017; in the light of the changes last year, a real must read.
The second is about Nationwide International bank closing; many people have international bank accounts so it is worth keeping up to date on why Nationwide has chosen to close their international account
1st December 2016
I Have just added two financial articles to the Blevins Franks area of the website; to view these articles please click on the Blevins Franks logo at the top of the page.
The first article ask "Are you ready for information exchange" and gives details about the countries that will be exchanging data soon.
The second article concerns the Chancellor's Autumn Statement which will be the last Autumn Statement ever!
Please click on the Blevins Franks logo and have a read of these articles, they might just give you the insight you need.
Davexf currently on holiday in Portugal
I've had an email from a member who is trying to sell their house; there is a problem in that the new buyers have discovered that there are "cargas" on the property. These cargas relate to the builder and date back from 2005; in normal circumstances it would be no problem, but currently the requisite department is "too busy" to annul them.
To avoid potential problems, anyone selling their house should chat to their solicitor to ensure there are no similar problems.
Last night I had word that the PGOU town plan had passed another hurdle in a meeting in Cádiz. The full report appears in "El Periodico de Chiclana". There are minor adjustments needed the report says.
I have just written a couple of articles for the Baywatch magazine; one for Age Concern and the other for ChiFRA. Members will receive the articles before Baywatch is published.
The clocks go back tonight; so you can have an extra hour in bed. If you're visiting the town centre tonight you might need it as there are events on until late.
I have had a busy time of late; if you read the AGM minutes you will see that there has been some significant changes in laws relating to our properties, both inside and outside the PGOU town plan.
I'm currently in bonny Scotland and will spend only a couple of weeks in Chiclana before going to my brother's 90th birthday party in Canada. I will be back for my own 70th Birthday bash on the 24th September
1st March 2016
With the new PGOU on display from Wednesday 2nd March for one month, it is the ideal time to check the documentation of your property, in particular your IBI and how much you pay; whether you are paying for your next door neighbour or just for yourself.
I urge everyone to go down to the Ayuntamiento and check all is well
January 31st Update
On Friday, I met with Stefan Shauer who is now an independent councillor. Although he remains committed to helping the foreign contingent, his time is limited; nevertheless he has helped four people so far and has the others in hand.
January 23rd Update
I now have eight people that have enquired about IBI. In each case I need to identify the house exactly in Google Earth / Google Maps to the Architects department of the Ayuntamiento.
January 18th 2016
I will be meeting with the Ayuntamiento later this month to help two families pay their IBI (Annual house tax). If anyone else would like help to receive this annual bill, please let me know at
Yes a new year starts so lets hope the good news on law changes continues; Both SOHA & AUAN are coninuing their excellent work giving us hope of a long term agreement about the way forward to legalise our homes.
Yes it will take time, but as the Spanish say, "poco a poco" or little by little. Currently their atack is on the decree 2 / 2012 which all political parties think needs amendment.
As soon as I have further news, I'll let you all know
19 families from a town in Pontevedra (Galicia), have managed to block the imminent demolition of their homes, thanks to AUAN (Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora NO) because AUAN managed to get the senate to change article 108.3 of the Contentious Administrative Law.
The block of flats in question was built with planning permission some thirty years ago and the apartments were purchased by 19 Spanish families in good faith who had no knowledge that the properties were the subject of proceedings, because the Land Registry did not reveal this information. After a 25 year battle in the courts they were facing eviction and demolition on the 2nd of November.
The residents appear to have launched an appeal based on AUAN’s change to article 108.3 which states that demolition cannot take place prior to the payment of compensation to purchasers in good faith.
AUAN have spent 266,000€ in the last eight years getting the injustice of illegal buildings. They need more money to continue their fight. They want to change the Catastral (Land Registry) to allow plots to be split instead of indiviso or horizontal division. They want the Catastral to contain information on outstanding demolition orders, debts etc.
They have lobbied all political parties in the Junta de Andalucia and got consensus from all parties. They continue to fight for methods to legalise homes. If you would like to donate money to this worthwhile cause - please become a full or associate member. You may also give me donations as I attend their meetings as I am a full member.
The Ayuntamiento have announced that the Substative Rules have been extended for one year. The significance of that is the PGOU town plan does not need to be completed until the end of the substantive rules end
3rd June 2015
It's been a long time since I last updated this Blog; sorry but it has been a bit hectic.
Where to start? I have attended the AUAN meetings in Albox to keep in touch with other Ex-pat associations and they in particular, are getting the law changed. They have changed Article 319.3 of the Penal code of Spain to give people compensation before their house is demolished.
It may not seem much, but as their solicitor said, "It's another tool in the box because once the house is demolished, it's game over". In reality, builders and developers declare themselves bankrupt to not pay out so probably no house will ever be demolished!
AUAN's next ploy was to change article 34 of La Ley Hipotecaria. When you buy a house a search is done on the catastral to see if the house exists. what doesn´t come back is that there is a demolition order or an outstanding court appearance; AUAN have failed at the first attempt but both major parties have agreed it is needed and have suggested a different way forward.
14th April 2015
Well that was a holiday and a half; I had to send an email to the other committee members saying "Help, I´m stuck in Morocco. No it's not a scam I don´t need money" I really was stuck in Morocco!!! They went and closed the ferry ports because of the winds so I couldn't get home to the meeting and my family had to rebook their flights!
5th April 2015
Just a reminder that the members meeting in This Thursday 9th April at 7-30
28th February 2015
I've just added two reports for Blevins Franks; the first is about the change in pension options from April 2015, and the second is about the taxman´s form 720 which has to completed before the end of March.
Also I've added the Ayuntamiento's What's On in March; now the warmer weather is here, it's time to go get some sun before it gets too strong, so go out and enjoy.
23rd February 2015
Well it's all kicking off isn´t it; Sasuana Moreno (PVRE) has been sitting on a report about contaminated aquifers (underground rivers) for over a year. The mayor (Ernesto Marin of PP) then sacks her but expects the PVRE to continue voting with the PP so they remain in power for the next three months until the May elections.
Now the Junta and newspapers have got hold of it and are trying to lay blame back to 1967! The problem is that Chiclana Natural can´t supply sufficient drinking water nor can they process sufficient sewerage. They spent some 15 million Euros putting pipes into Rana Verde but haven´t connected them up.
What will happen next is anyones guess but I have been saying for some time that most people in illegal houses only want drinking water, sewerage, perhaps a telephone wire and gas and they would be happy.
20th Februafy 2015
Hola a todos,
Yet again I´ve been to the Ayuntamiento liaising with Stefan on more houses for non-resident members. It's encouraging to see other members there and good to be of assistance.
It seems there are lots of people that have tried in the past to pay IBI but weren't able to get it paid. Now with Stefan's help, it is getting sorted. There is a deadline of the 30th March for this so there is still time to help people who want to pay IBI, But please note - THE LAST DAY FOR ALLEGATIONS is 2nd March - before 1-30 pm.
Well we have had two
evenings at the Ayuntamiento display of the PGOU town plan and my thanks go to
Stefan Schauer for his time and patience. The exercise threw up a number of
property document problems and these are “in progress” as I write.
I have submitted my
allegation about my plot size (there was no designated minimum size of plot on
the plan) – a “drawing error” I was told. All very painless – FREE – and quick –
less than a minute to copy, stamp and return.
If you have problems
with the PGOU town plan, then please write to
It´s been a busy couple
of weeks; I attended the member´s meeting of AUAN (Abusos Urbanisticos
Almanzora NO) in Albox on the 17th January, then the AGM of SOHA
(Save Our Homes Axarqia) in Viñuela on the 21st January, and then
rushed back to Chiclana for the IBI / PGOU meeting on the 22nd
I have written up my
notes and emailed them to all members. If you didn´t receive them then please re-join
ChiFRA. Remember we wrote to all members telling them we would delete them from
our database unless they responded.
I have added two
articles from our sponsors Blevins Franks; the first is on the new pension regime
in the UK, and the other is on UK CGT which applies from April 2015.
Finally I have viewed
the new PGOU in the Ayuntamiento; I spoke the Urbano clerk there and he gave me
a printed copy of my house in the plan and an allegations sheet because, as the
plan stands, it doesn´t give the correct restrictions on plot size for my
house or my neighbour´s house.
12th January 2015
We have had to change the date of the IBI / PGOU meeting to Next THURSDAY 22nd January
31st December 2015
I´ve just added two articles from our sponsors Blevins Franks; just click on their logo above to read about Spanish taxation changes for 2015 and the Autumn Statement from George Osbourne the Chancellor of the Exchequer who made announcements which may affect all expatriates.
16th December 2014
As you can read on the front page, I´ve had a meeting with Stefan Schauer and arranged with him for a public presentation of the plans to reduce your IBI payment on 15th January.
Also I have been speaking to another group of concerned residents about the forthcoming PGOU presentation. Currently I am taking a wait and see what they say approach. My concerns mainly are the flood plains, mains electricity and legality of houses.
Some towns in Andalucía have an "amnesty" for legal houses that have made alterations without planning permission. The houses pay 60€ and the alterations are incorporated into the houses bookwork. Currently not available to Chiclana, nevertheless I will try to keep abreast of any developments.
2nd December 2014
Well I´ve just seen the first SNOW falls of this winter! But
I am in Scotland; cold wet and grey is the way I describe it.
I´ve just added three articles from our sponsors; the first
two from Blevins Franks on “Inheritance tax” and “No Hiding Place” from the tax
collectors new agreement and thirdly the Cadiz casa newsletter for December.
Interesting reading if you´ve complete your Christmas
10th November 2014
I had a very interesting conversation with a holiday letting agency over the weekend. The Junta de Andalucia are proposing to comply with the govenments wish by regulating villa rentals. Things such as fire blankets in the kitchen, fire extinguisher in the hall I can understand. But the thought is that they may slip in things like Certificate of first habitation, licence to rent, gas safety certificate etc.
I have no idea how many members do rent their properties out; so if you do and are would like more information as it happens, perhaps you could drop me a line and I´ll keep a list of email addresses so I can email only those that want the information.
is the address to use
8th November 2014
As you may know the Ayuntamiento are revising the rateable
values of many
properties; they will write to those people but using the tax address from the central
government's tax office) for the notification. This should have already been done using form
030 available at the tax office.
Also you should have notified the Ayuntamiento of your
postal address for "facilitar la dirección a efectos de
notificación por decreto".
Whilst this revaluation should be automatic, and you
shouldn´t have to do anything, like all bureaucracy in Spain, it is wise to
check if it has affected your property. You have one month to do this, but you
can´t start until after 15th November.
28 October 2014
Blevins Franks have just added two articles; the first is on succession tax and the other is on the automatic exchange of financial information between countries both inside and outside the European Union.
They both make interesting reading. I have also updated the "Whatson" for Noviember so click the link and enjoy
19 October 2014
Susana Diaz President of the Junta de Andalucía now says that the amendment to Decree 2 / 2012 will be ready by January 2015 - remember this is an election year.
10 October 2014
Well it´s all happening isn´t it? Plots are being split and sold illegally, and people want to denounce illegal builds. The Ayuntamiento, under pressure to stop illegal builds has actually put notices up to try to stop the practice.
Also has anyone heard that Spain has been fined again by the European courts? They´re discriminating against non-Spanish members of Europe who own property here in Spain. The rates of tax are greater for inheritance tax for people who have property here and live abroad, than the rates for the people who live here. For further information, please contact our solicitors, Temple Cambria
2nd October 2014
I´ve just read through the latest information from Blevins Franks; it makes very interesting reading about income tax here in Spain. Did you know it is being reduced? Neither did I! Also they have changed the pension rules which may be even more interesting to some. To read all about it just click on the Blevins Franks blue logo at the top of the page.
30 September 2014
The Festival of wine & tapas starts on Friday 9th October at 1 o´clock in the Plaza Major. If it takes its normal course, you´ll buy a ticket for 2-50€ which will entitle you to a tapa and a drink.
I´ve always enjoyed these festivals; how about you?
I just had an interesting
conversation with a freelance journalist for the Telegraph; she is doing a
follow-up article on Electricity and the lack of it. You can read the article by clicking the link below
I have written to all 34
people that responded in February when our solicitor J.A. asked for examples so
he can take a case to the court of human rights. She is also interested in “how
we live under the circumstances” and the stress.
We talked about the speech of “La presidenta de
la Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz”, who said that she will
propose to Parliament a law amending the Law on Urban Planning of Andalusia (LOUA)
to enable the regularisation of properties that are in a "legal limbo". We
also talked about the stress people are under when they live in illegal
properties. I´ll get the article translated for those that can not read Spanish sufficiently.
Obviously “the devil will be in the detail” and it is only a proposal at
the moment; but it is a step in the right direction. Not only will it take time
to get the law passed, but also to get it enacted locally (incorporated into
the PGOU town plan?) will take even more time.
And this is where I want ChiFRA to be; correctly informing its members on
important matters while keeping pressure up where we can make the difference.
There may come a time when we need “to go in with all guns blazing” but if we
can achieve the same result living in peace and tranquility, then that´s
Saturday 30th August 2014
Once more a change to the web-site; this time an update for the events in September. I've quite pleased myself as it did it from my netbook which doesn't have the crib notes that I've got on my laptop; and I did it while in Canada with my brother John.
Jet-lagged Dave Fisher !!!
Tuesday 26th August 2014
I have added another couple of articles from Blevins Franks; the first affects rental income, and the second is new British tax changes proposed by the UK government.
Both of these are proposals currently going through the process of becoming law. It really is good to be able to keep up with what may affect us all in future and I thank Blevins Franks for keeping us all in the know.
Friday 1st August 2014
On a serious side, one of our Sponsors, Blevins Franks, has written an interesting article on taxation in Spain (and how to avoid it). Simply "click" on the blue Blevins Franks Logo, and the latest two article will appear.
On the social side, did anyone go to the free concert at the bandstand alongside the river last night? It was superb as usual but remember that it will be in the Plaza Mayor next week, same time 10pm.
Friday 11th July 2014
This is my first Blog as your new President. I have just returned from the first day of the "Ruta de la Tapa" and would like to thank all those that came along. If any one else wants to try the "Ruta de la Tapa", watch this space and the ChiFRA thread on http://paulday.proboards.com/board/22/chifra
I would like to begin by wishing each and everyone of you a very Happy New Year, and to apologise for not writing yesterday about our Charity night event but unfortunately had a drama of our own yesterday when my youngest broke her arm and so we had an afternoon spent in Puerto Real hospital, she is now the proud owner of a plaster cast bless her. I must say the staff where amazing and very professional. Anyway, that has left me a day late for my thanks but I hope you can understand my delay.
I do not deserve any thanks for coming up with an idea and then throwing it to my team to deal with but as most of you know me when I have a plan I have to ride with it. Even though it was so rushed (some of the best ideas are aren’t they?) it was met with enthusiasm but also some trepidation. Well those of you that went along on the night I think will agree with me on what a huge success it was and I want this opportunity to thank as many as I can. Problem is where to start who to thank in the right order...... Firstly then a huge thank you to my partner Michelle for her tireless work with the general coordination and for supporting me, who along with Marina and Dave worked very hard... Fantastic achievement thanks so much for that! Marina answered the phone enquiries, organised tables and also managed to get the band for free, and what an amazing performance! Dave who was driving round countless times chasing up people and getting donations and always keeping me informed of the progress. They were the ones who really helped put this together and worked hard on the night making sure everything went as smoothly as possible. Yvonne for the ChiFRA web page information, to the joint committees of Age Concern Costa de la Luz Sur and ChiFRA, to our members who have sold tickets, advertised the event, took the calls, received donations and raffle prizes, and many others who also did their bit towards this night.
The biggest thanks has to be to the boss and staff of El Chapparrel who could not have done enough for us and gave us such a good price to encourage more out on a cold and rainy winter evening!!
Now, please forgive me if I forget anyone in this huge Thanks List, to all these people who donated: Tom, Chin Fern, Valerie, Steve Harris, Dave Fisher, Christina, Jackie Eaton, many more who could not make it on the night but still bought tickets, Great work from Corina who sold many tickets on the door for our raffle and Nico my son and step daughter Millie also who went around tables getting more sells, and for the raffle prizes from Sue the Fabulous Cake lady..(the president of the 3 Kings" won that and was very pleased indeed), the gift voucher from Steve the butcher, dinner for two at Venta Florentina, also from Venta Sorpresa, James & Tracey Scott for the box of sherries and the Elephant painting that we all wanted!
Other gifts donated consisted of wines, sherries, biscuits, gin, brandy and many more. Another fabulous gift were the vouchers to visit the "8 la Janda" television and "Chiclana radio" stations. Over 25 raffle prizes a fantastic display thank you all again.
It was a great night a lovely setting with lots of good food and wines and made all the better as it was for such a good cause. The amazing band got a lot of us up and dancing and later we had two singing and dancing DJ’s who had us up on our feet again shaking our bits.. not my best moment but I tried! Some of us partied on until two in the morning and left very happy and content and I hope that those who came along on the night had an enjoyable time. Good and bad feedback always welcome.
Great to see the 3 Kings on the night and to give them all a grand total of 1018€ (One thousand and eighteen Euros.. ) WOW, we were really so proud to be part of this great cause!
And finally, a Huge Big Thank You to everyone who made it out and helped contribute to the final amount. Without you all there it of course would not have been a success at all. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for helping make children smile at Los Reyes with gifts their parents could not afford.
Chiclana has a complicated political, social and economic structure with a current population of over 83,000 people including more than 4,200 foreign residents (us). The Local Council is governed by a coalition of the Partido Popular (PP) and Neighbourhood Regionalist Party (PVRE). One of the main electoral promises of the PP was to create more jobs and the PVRE formed with the promise of finding a solution to the ongoing problems created by the construction of thousands of illegal houses in the area. The economic crisis has severely affected Chiclana with currently over 13,500 unemployed and forecast to exceed 15,000 during the winter. That's not the only problem to affect Chiclana, the General Urban Plan was repealed by the courts in June 2011 and while the city planning department are developing a new General Plan, they're operating under provisional rules that are only valid until June 2015. On top of that they repealed the ordinances in June 2012 that could have allowed the regularization of over 15,000 homes on the outskirts of town, so for the time being no one can obtain basic services. This problem is affecting a large part of the foreign population who bought a house outside the city limits without knowing that they were illegally constructed. The lack of sympathy and will to recognise the “rip-off the foreigner” culture in my opinion is very disappointing on all levels. Many newcomers who invested their pensions and hundreds of thousands of their hard earned Euros in Chiclana have already left for the UK when they had their electricity cut off or threatened with demolition. Recently, several foreign residents have had embargoes placed on their bank accounts without their knowledge. Warning letters never delivered! One particular case, a single parent with two children was left stranded at a UK airport without any money for food or ongoing transport because the bank was forced to block her cards. I personally visited the council and demanded an explanation. Their response was to state that they published a warning about the embargo for failure to pay her IBI in the “official bulletin” and that was their only legal requirement because “they didn't know where she lived”, even though she is on the local register (padron) and has been a permanent resident for the past five years paying community fees that include the asphalting of the road and other services. Furthermore, despite the crisis causing a sharp drop in local house prices, hundreds of owners are paying the full (IBI ) tax rates as if they were urban (at exorbitant prices) even though their homes are rustic and not eligible for basic services such as electricity, water and sewerage or any of the minimum services provided in the city itself such as postal delivery, street lighting or a regular bus service. I believe that the only honest solution for residents living in rural homes is to be charged realistic rates for the services they have access to, reflecting the true market value of their homes and this review should be applied to the Catastro, as the mandatory five years have already passed since the last review in January 2008 during the full housing boom. Unfortunately Spanish and foreign residents will probably be seeing an increase in their already excessive property IBI tax receipts. Likewise, what happened to the so-called Council Departments for Districts? A commitment made by the current mayor promising a local councillor allocated to each particular area of Chiclana. Even though this measure was announced 25th March, 2012 it's not yet been put into operation, so residents and neighbours can't file complaints or suggestions to their respective PP and PVRE councillors, Yet another example of the local government failing in its campaign promises. Finally - remember that the PVRE were created with the aim of solving the problems for thousands of illegal homes in Chiclana. They still haven't replied to our official letters sent by our lawyers over a year ago. They promised in their campaign “Housing legalisation for about 12,700 Euros”, but since their arrival at the planning delegation their stance has dramatically changed and they're no longer talking about costs. My guess is that they possibly don't want to mention that legalisation and providing basic services will have a much higher cost than they promised. Yet on a positive note, other local councils are allowing basic services to homes built outside the urban plan, so we're not giving up the fight.
Roger Alan Holmes – ChiFRA President
After waiting for a very long time in the dark, it looks like there finally may be a new Chiclana town plan (PGOU) in the pipeline.
I've taken a look at it and it seems to be very similar (almost identical) to the old "new one" written by the PSOE that the PP / PVRE council had tucked in the draw for the past two years. I'm not sure why it's taken them so long to make the few changes that they've made?
Anyway - in my opinion the main differences are the minimum plot size, the amount you are allowed to build on each plot and the width of the roads. Please note that as far as I can see there is still no mention about costs or what will happen to houses built close to rivers.
Members of the ChiFRA management committee will be meeting next week (a closed meeting) and I will be asking them to arrange a meeting for the membership as soon as we know more details.
You can download the new full document (in Spanish) at this address:
And the map only at this address: http://www.psoechiclana.com/pgou/planimetria.pdf
Look at the map on page 5, but wait until it's completely downloaded before zooming in.
Grey = Urban
Beige = Will become urban
Green / khaki = Will not become urban
Be careful because the files are very large, they could be expensive if you don’t have an internet flat-rate, and may take a long time to download.
Please keep checking back at the ChiFRA web page for more information as we will update it when we know more.
First of all I would like to apologise for my lack of enthusiasm but I have had nothing to report since my last message in November.
The town hall planning department still haven't replied to our official letter regarding issues that affect electricity on white land and illegal housing in Chiclana. It was delivered early last summer, followed by a reminder in the autumn and rumour has it they don't have any plans on replying any time soon (they must be overwhelmed with work).
Our lawyers were hoping to use their reply to take these serious issues to the European court of human rights and find out if it was legal to deny residents of any nationality basic services such as electricity and water, but without an official written stance we are stuck in a stalemate. Strangely I've had unconfirmed reports by members that other local councils such as Conil are allowing electricity to some illegal homes because it would be against their legal rights to cut it off.
According to a recent press release (Diario de Cadiz 23rd May) by the PVRE councillor Mrs. Marysol Ayala the provisional planning regulations should be ready in June (this year), however these regulations are not the promised and long overdue new, new, new town plan, they are just a temporary patch to resolve issues that mainly affect big business in established urban areas such as the town centre, la Barrosa and the Euroski zone.
As far as I know they haven't agreed to add a clause that we and other local associations proposed to urgently recognise and re-classify the approximately 25,000 (so called) illegal houses as not built on specially protected land which could then allow many of them to have electricity and basic services without necessarily being urbanised. The general feeling is extremely frustrating, thousands of Spanish and foreign residents feel let down time and time again by political spin and cynical promises. Where are the results?
ChiFRA are still supporting local charities to collect food for the needy and you can still show your solidarity by donating tinned food, rice, oil and legumes at the collection point in the “Hogar de Pensionistas” in Chiclana (next to the football field) on any weekday morning. The international food and musical event we held there at the end February involved over 200 people but only a few of them were our members. I find it very sad that even though so many claim that that they want to integrate they never seem to have the time. Many thanks to those of you who made the effort and a special thank you to “Mezcla Casual” for the great music - good time was had by all!
We will be holding our AGM as usual at the Azahar Costa on the 26th of June at 7pm and hope some of you will step up and offer your help to join the committee. It's a very unrewarding, often boring but necessary job. New blood is always useful to bring in new skills, ideas and keep us on track. As a committee member you will be part of a group of people who are the first to be “in the know” and you will have the chance to voice your opinion and shape how we move forward.
Roger Alan Holmes - ChiFRA President