The British couple live in Albox, Almeria. SUR
SOHA (Save Our Homes Axarquía), formed by hundreds of homeowners whose properties have been deemed illegal, has joined forces with Almeria counterparts AUAN in support of a British couple who are taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Despite having a full building licence, the retired couple’s home in Albox, Almeria, faces demolition after the Junta de Andalucía revoked this permission.
The case echoes that of Len and Helen Prior whose home in Vera was demolished five years ago as the result of a planning dispute between the local council and the regional government.
Philip Smalley, President of SOHA said: “While the problems that we face in the Axarquía are, in many ways, very different to those faced in Albox we all feel a shared wrong which must be righted. If only one of us can establish this fundamental right to live in peace in a home bought in good faith then surely this will help to shift the intransigence of the Spanish legal system and will be money well spent.”
The case will focus on Article 1 of Protocol Number 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights which guarantees the right to property. The lawyer representing the affected owners, Gerardo Vázquez, told SUR that Spain “suffers a judicial pathology as the internal regulatory system does not adequately protect the basic fundamental right to private property.”
“This is a David and Goliath struggle. This couple were on the brink of giving up when members of AUAN and SOHA put their hands in their pockets to fund the submission of this case,” added Smalley.
“We believe that this is not just about one couple or one case. It is about the fundamental principle that a person who acted in good faith should not be deprived of their home without prior compensation as a result of the action or inaction of the Spanish state. We feel that if this couple wins, we all win,” concluded the SOHA president.