By Richard Torné
The lawyer for the Almería-based AUAN property rights association gave the owners of a beleaguered housing estate in the region of Galicia some Christmas cheer by paying them an unexpected visit.
Gerardo Vázquez, who spearheaded last year’s AUAN campaign to change planning law, met last week with residents of the Pintos residential estate in the coastal town of Bueu.
The owners, totalling some 19 families, have been fighting an extraordinary legal battle over the last 24 years to save their homes from demolition after the courts ruled that part of the building – reputedly no more than 90 centimetres – invaded a public path.
Last November the council issued an eviction order so that a partial demolition of the building could go ahead, despite recent changes in planning and criminal law stating that no illegal property bought in good faith can be demolished without first compensating the homeowner.
In the council’s letter the owners were reportedly instructed to place their belongings on a canvas sheet, a comment which provoked such indignation in the area that the Pintos estate has become known as ‘La lona de la vergüenza de Bueu’ (the canvas of the shame of Bueu).
Although the homeowners obtained a court injunction to halt the demolition, Sr Vázquez told Costa Almería News that he “could not stand idly by” and ignore their plight.