An excavator demolishes the perimeter wall of the villa owned by Antonio Banderas in Los Monteros. :: Josele-Lanza
Antonio Banderas has made it clear that he will not say "a single word" that could affect the image of the Costa del Sol in Spain or abroad, whether or not he is given permission to make his villa in Marbella legal and thereby avoid part of it being demolished.
The actor's remarks were made in Seville last week, after he had been presented with the distinction of 'Hijo Predilecto', or favourite son, of Andalucía. Shortly before this event took place, photos of the demolition of a wall at his house, ‘La Gaviota’, had appeared in the press all over the world and, in response to questions from journalists, he wanted to make it known that these works are the result of a request from Marbella council to give up part of his land so the seafront promenade at Los Monteros beach could be extended.
He also stressed that this is a separate matter from the process which is still under way to make his residence legal. The house was built during the GIL era with a licence which was granted to the first owners of the property and subsequently deemed to be illegal. When the Urban Plan of 2010 came into force, it meant that Antonio Banderas could apply to have the house, which is subject to a demolition order from the High Court of Andalucía, made legal. Under the terms of the Plan, this could be done if 1,243 square metres of the land were handed over to the council.
Marbella council approved a modification to the Urban Plan in order to be more flexible about which piece of land was to be ceded, but this did not affect the number of square metres the actor would have to give up. The change meant that the swimming pool of the property would not be affected. The authorisation to make the property legal is still pending, but the actor has ceded the land in advance so the council has been able to carry out the works on the promenade.
Antonio Banderas said that even if the courts decide he cannot make the property legal, he will not be making any comments that would have a negative effect on the Costa del Sol. "Whatever happens about the house, even if they were to burn it down, I'm not going to kick up a fuss", he told journalists, because he is conscious of the fact that anything he says "could be portrayed in the international press as if the legal system on the Costa del Sol cannot be trusted".
He also denied claims that had appeared on the internet, about a row that he had allegedly had with the mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz. "They are talking about a meeting at which neither of us was present, and at a time when I was in Los Angeles", he joked.
Current town planning documents establish that the house was built with a licence that contravened the regulations of that time, but they do indicate that it could be made legal if an area of the plot on which it stands is ceded to the local authority to provide the public with access to the beach. Part of the building is subject to the demolition order from the High Court of Andalucía,which dates back to April 2003, on the grounds that the building licence that was granted in 1995, when Jesús Gil was mayor, was invalid. Antonio Banderas bought the property a couple of years later and in 2008 he lost the appeal which he had lodged against the demolition order. However, the Urban Plan of 2010 may have changed the future of the Banderas family home.