The court said that Albox townhall was the legal co-respondent in the case, along with the builders, as they did nothing to stop the illegal builds, issued local building permits and “granted an air of legality to the scam which otherwise would have warned people off”.
All four families bought land off-plan in Albox via adverts placed in the UK press and designed their dream homes to be built on them. The land was later revealed to be non-urbanisable under town planning regulations, but Albox still gave “Construcciones Alto Almanzora”, the builders, permission to go ahead.
Judge Maria Teresa Vidaurreta pointed out that the townhall verbally gave permission to the builders and authorised Endesa and Galasa to connect utilities to the urbanisation, despite the fact that no permits had been fully issued at that point.
The Judge has ruled that the homes are illegal, but has rejected a demolition order as she says that demolishing these homes would make no sense (they are complete) and would only add to the moral and ethical damage dealt to the British families. She added that although currently the homes cannot be legalised, they may very soon be legal, and so refused a demolition order, pointing to the words of the Andalucian President who recently promised to legalise such homes.
She awarded the first two families €40,000 and €45,000 respectively, for “moral compensation”, to be paid by Albox townhall. A third family whose home was stopped receives €50,000 and a fourth family whose home was paralysed before construction could start, €7,800, to cover the expenses incurred when they had to rent while trying to sort the mess out.
The builders, of course, have declared bankruptcy / vanished / died / simply ignored the court orders for the last decade, so these families are unlikely to see anything from them.