Legalizing houses ‘against sustainable development’

LEGALIZING buildings on rural land will require “great commitment” from the town halls, according to Junta de Andalucia Housing Minister Josefina Cruz Villalon. Villalon said that it will take a “huge management effort” and that collaboration between the Junta and the provincial governments will be “fundamental”.

She pointed out that the decree plan to legalise buildings on rural or protected land is not one that can be applied simply, since it needs to follow current urban planning laws and study individual situations. It is planned, she said, to defend public interests, providing a solution to problems which are not always caused by those most affected, such as the homeowners.

The decree is currently being written and will still need to be checked and approved by several institutions, this, she said “will not be a rapid process”. The decree will classify different types of situations for the buildings depending on their location, that is, isolated, on complexes or in rural areas, as well as how close they are to complying with the law, and whether or not they were given planning permission.

This will clarify whether they are legal and improve the conditions for the dwellers, as well as including them on the local General Plans for Urban Development, allowing local town halls to have a more accurate picture of how housing is distributed.

She says that this may have negative effects on territorial planning, where main or secondary homes will remain despite them invading protected lands and using natural resources such as soil, water or energy, leading to a deterioration of the landscape and the environment, as well as problems with supplies such as water and electricity, which will have to provide for more dwellings than they were planned for.

She finally said that this type of construction “goes against sustainable growth established by Andalucia’s territorial laws”.

Last month, a court dismissed a case brought against Villalon brought about by British expatriates for defamation after she referred to the illegal homes situation affecting thousands of people in Almeria as “”an intrusion of people… who are not of this country, who have settled here illegally and have shown a lack of respect for the culture of the territory, for the culture of the landscape and the culture of planning… and are now demanding that we solve a problem that they are responsible for having created.”

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