Spain: Government preparing building amnesty to make money

31 May, 20:04

(ANSAmed) - MADRID, MAY 31 - The Spanish government is studying an amnesty on infringements of construction regulations, a move that would bring money in to the coffers, and allow breathing space to a property sector paralysed by the financial crisis and avoid dozens of demolitions of unauthorised buildings, which have been ordered in definitive judicial rulings. The measure is part of the draft bill on city planning legislation sent by the Ministry of Infrastructure to regional and local authorities, who in turn will be asked to make their own contributions. The bill was quoted today by El Pais. The amnesty is thought to concern thousands of illegal buildings, many of them on Spain's southern coasts, in Marbella, Malaga and Almeria, but also in the north-west of the country and in Cantabria. A census is not currently possible, as in some cases the buildings are entire urban complexes. It is estimated that in the town of La Axaquia (province of Malaga ) alone, some 10,000 buildings have been erected on rural land without planning permission. In Andalusia, meanwhile, there are between 300,000 and 350,000 illegal houses, which can be neither demolished nor legalised, according to a bill approved in January by the regional PSOE government, which grants them "legal recognition".

The draft bill also includes changes to the laws on land and sustainable economy and modifications to property regulations. The text states that "there is currently only space for further urban growth for the next 45 years", while the "stock of homes already built, which remain unsold and empty" is considered "over-estimated to the point that there has been an 88% fall in the construction of new homes". The reform also introduces measures to avoid overcrowding in homes by immigrants, with a measure forcing towns to deny housing in homes where the ratio of residents to square metres (20 square metres per person) does not guarantee "adequate living conditions".

The amnesty does not stretch to illegal buildings constructed on the beach, for which the Environment Ministry is preparing a change to the coastal law, which is opposed by environmental associations, who fear that the amnesty could lead to a new plundering of the Spanish coast.(ANSAmed).

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