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South East Lib Dems call for an end to Spanish 'land grab'

March 25, 2010 11:30 AM

UK citizens who own property in Spain are in danger of having their homes bulldozed due to an unfair interpretation of Spanish law.

The 1988 Coastal Law was designed to prevent over-urbanisation of the Spanish coastline but had not been properly implemented because of the need for development and foreign investment.

In 2008 the Spanish government decided to retroactively implement the 1988 Coastal Law due to perceived over-urbanisation but in practice the law, which applies to Spanish homeowners as well, has targeted property owned by foreign nationals, including buyers from the UK.

Sharon Bowles said:

"Spain is shooting itself in the foot. The Spanish economy is suffering, in part, from a collapse in the housing market. Threatening to demolish homes in Spain owned by foreign nationals is certainly not the way to rebuild confidence.

"British homeowners who have bought property on the Spanish coastline should not be confronted with the prospect of watching their homes get bulldozed or told that their ownership expires after 30 years.

"Catherine and I have expressed this view to the Spanish Prime Minister on behalf of all those in our constituency of South East England who have been affected. I just hope the Spanish government sees sense and reviews this pernicious policy."

Catherine Bearder said:

"Although the situation is still not resolved the way we would like, at least the case is going to remain open and the Commission has to go away and look at the new position post Lisbon Treaty."

"Our advice to potential buyers of properties along the Spanish Costas would be that the law remains unclear, so it is a case of 'buyers beware'."