Algarrobico land “isn’t urbanisable” rules Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Spain has released two key judgements on the annoying El Algarrobico hotel today. They ruled that:

  • It’s built on protected land
  • And the land belongs to the Junta de Andalucía

The ruling comes to clarify earlier contradictory Andalusian Supreme Court (TSJA) rulings that contradicted one another.

The land issue comes because the the land it’s built upon was supposedly turned into nature park after permits to build were issued but before construction started. Had the company started building back in 199whatever when the licence was first issued they’d have been fine, but they waited until 2003, after the land was supposedly turned into a nature park.

In theory, that’s it, unless someone convinces Europe to take up the appeal. There are no further courts in Spain left to appeal to.

A July 2014 sentence ruled that a building licence issued by Carboneras council for the contentious El Algarrobico hotel was legal.

The July 2014 sentence confirming the building licence’s validity came as a shock, as it contradicted earlier rulings. The magistrates of the Andalucian supreme court (TSJA) who issued the judgement now considered that the conditions for building were met.

Earlier rulings, including a separate one by the TSJA, had repeatedly confirmed that the hotel was built on protected land too close to the high water mark.

This lead to a legal paradox, as there were two contradictory TSJA rulings.

So the appeals went to the TS, the national Supreme Court who has the final say in such matters.

And now the supreme judges have come back with this decision.

Trouble is, the ruling on the building license cannot be appealed, so that’s still a peg on which builders Azata del Sol can hang their hat.

Builders Azata del Sol claimed victory in the case last year, claiming the July 2014 ruling shows they acted in good faith. They have demanded seventy million euros in compensation from the Junta de Andalucía.

The Junta had been ordered to purchase the land for 2,4 million euros and demolish the hotel, but continues to be waiting until the contradictory sentences are ruled upon.

So the land is now clarified as being government owned. But not the building. So compensation will have to be paid in order to expropriate the hotel and knock it down. Or will it?

The issue of compensation / demolition has now moved to the Audiencia Nacional. This is an alternate Supreme Court whose roots lie in the Franco era – it’s supposed to be a national court of appeal you can go to directly without going through all this rigamole of regional and national Supreme Courts. Complicated, isn’t it? And we haven’t even mentioned the Tribunal Constitucional….

Construction on the 21 storey hotel started in 2003, but work was stopped after a Judge accepted complaints that the hotel was illegal. Since then, the case has become a byword for the excesses of construction during the Spanish boom.

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2 Replies to “Algarrobico land “isn’t urbanisable” rules Supreme Court”

  1. Its a simple matter to resolve:
    The building was constructed without proper planning consent.

    If permission is given now by whoever, they themselves should stand trial on a charge of breaking the law of the land.

  2. The hotel has been built and we should now get on with using it to employ people in the area,as there are few jobs to be had and this will help the economy of Andalusia and Spain in difficult times.

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