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Monday, May 27, 2013

Latest re the landslip

Translation from a notice re the regional authorities statement of help.

Almería County Council is committed to the City of Zurgena to help repair and stabilization of the Cerro de las Lomas and urged the Government of Andalusia to join this project to stop landslides that have resulted in the town. This was confirmed by Provincial President, Gabriel Amat, after the last meeting he had with the mayor zurgenero, Francisco Ramos, to address this problem that keeps two families in the municipality evicted risk of landslides on their homes. Amat considered "need" the support of institutions such as the Andalusian to achieve an end to this "natural misfortune" that has occurred because of the heavy rains that lashed Zurgena and Almeria Levante during this Autumn-Winter. "Since the City Council have made ​​a great effort and countless efforts to end this problem. But geology is not an exact science and you can control the type of materials that make up the hill, which are mostly sandstone, clay soil, and gypsum veins that overlap, cause water seepage due to rains cause landslides, "he explained. Likewise, the council president has detailed that the City Council has already budgeted for work performed more than 300,000 euros from the beginning has had the technical support of the institution of the Deputy Delegate Provincial and Andres Garcia Lorca, who have advised the Consistory for the Emergency Aid application to the Directorate General of Civil Protection in Madrid. "We've been off Zurgena from the beginning, but this problem requires a firm commitment from all levels of government. We are going to make a contribution, but we believe that the Board should join, "he added.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good News (British Consulate) and Bad News (more court cases)

I went into the Town Hall today to meet with Candido before the British consular representative arrived at 1.30pm.

As you could expect I had a number of bits and pieces to discuss with him following my holiday, however, I did not have time to raise all the issues and so some must wait for next week. I felt the most important issue today was to clarify the situation with regard to upcoming court cases and the situation regarding the Calle Nervion recent case and so we restricted our discussions to those.

Firstly regarding Cale Nervion and the recent ruling by the judge hearing that case and her decision to find against the TH and the builders. Candido reiterated the fact that, as can be seen from the full ruling, she only took evidence from the Autonomic Police and the Juntas' technico. She did this and in her  judgement, she states, that she only listened to their arguments, as they were impartial! This is a total falsehood as both the Autonomic Police and the Technico were instrumental in denouncing the TH in the first place. So how can they be impartial? He highlighted the fact that we had presented to the court 3 other technicos (architects in planning) and a professor who teaches judges and solicitors on planning laws, who would all have testified in our favour but she did not listen to any of them. These 4 persons who are eminent in their field would have given evidence to say that the TH acted within the correct norms in granting the building licences but she chose not to hear any of this evidence. This and other factors such as those listed in her judgement eg  the fact that Calle Nervion has no tarmac roads, no lights, etc can easily be disproved by reference to Goolzoom.

Candido then informed me that the case which was due to be heard a couple of months ago regarding the 5 or 6 houses in Los Llanos (Calle Maimonides and Averroes) will be heard by the same judge as above on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of June. This is an even more farcical situation as the area that is being contested has been misidentified 3 times by the courts. At first the Autonomic Police were requested to visit the properties in front of Calle Abderraman. When they arrived they photographed the house in the above streets and then the court tried to open the indictments in relation to Calle Abderraman. A real cock up!

The next case to be heard after this will be one on 3rd to 6th June relating to some of the houses on the right before dropping down to the rambla in Cuesta de los Pinos. This however is to be heard by a different judge.

Lastly on the 14th June a 'new' case relevant to some houses in Los Menchones on the right before entering Arboleas. This is another case of stretching the law to suit political purposes, as this case has been heard in the civil lower court, the civil higher court and the appeal court who have all found in favour of the TH. So they are now trying to get it heard in the Penal courts!

Having been through this lot I was feeling depressed, however, Candido then told me that we have had some good news in that the first Penal case, which was heard against Anthonio of New Horizons (which was won) last May, had had its appeal hearing and they have again found in favour of the TH. Even saying that no misconduct could be discerned in this case. This decision was made just 3 days after the judge ruled in the Calle Nervion case and gives us even more ammunition for the appeal. I then spoke with the solicitors for the TH who advised that they are working through the video of the original case re Calle Nervion and they will lodge the appeal within the next 10 days and are very confident of success. This may take up to a year to be heard.

That was my meeting over but, I had been asked to stay, as a representative from the British Consulate in Madrid had asked to meet with the TH and they thought it appropriate I was in that meeting.

I have to say (I hope) that I was able to be of some use to our expat residents in being able to give a picture of how we feel and what we think of the current situation.

The representative who attended at the TH was Bernadette Gallagher, a section Consular from the British Embassy in Madrid. Present for the meeting were the chief solicitor for the TH and his No 2, the TH Architect Luis, the Mayor, Candido and the TH Secretary Manolo. Just prior to the meeting Candido and Kiko had asked me if I would be present to answer any questions and to give an expats view of the ludicrous situation regarding the court cases and the political nature of these.

The meeting gave Ms Gallagher an overview of the history of persecution experienced by Zurgena at the hands of the Junta over the past 7 years. During the meeting I was afforded a few opportunities to  express our feelings and our hopes that in some way the Embassy (whilst I acknowledges that they could not interfere with a sovereign countries legal system) could bring some pressure to bear in such blatant political actions that we were suffering. I also gave her a copy of the court ruling re Calle Nervion and we demonstrated how biased that judgement was by showing her the ruling and then goolzoom pictures of Los Carasoles. She seemed as amazed, as I first was, at this ruling. The solicitors confirmed for Ms Galagher the facts, regarding these spurious court actions. It felt so strange to me that, here we were, in a small TH in Spain with 2 solicitors, 3 independent people and 3 politicians, all bar one of whom were Spanish, and we were effectively asking the British Embassy to help us!!

I do not know what the embassy will be able to do but at least to have them understand our situation made me feel better. I hope that some pressure can be brought to bear on regional or central government to help end this constant merry go round of baseless legal actions or to positively impact on our ability to get the PGOU agreed.

I, on your behalf, thanked her for coming, as I felt that most of us would be pleased know that someone outside now knows the situation and she promised to keep in touch. I felt that she listened intently and with some disbelief regarding the facts but I am sure she now has a good understanding of our plight

As usual if I have failed to explain anything to your satisfaction or you need anything further don't hesitate to email me at the above address or call me on my mobile 661147554.

As an aside, the budget for 2013 has been agreed, without reference to the sewerage works but things are progressing and we should have some news in the next few weeks.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy T.H.

Called into the T.H. this motrning in the hope of catching Kiko or Candido but failed, however, I will meet with them tomorrow as there is a representative of the British Embassy due to visit and they want me there. I will have an hour or two with Candido before that meeting to clarify what has been happening.

I understand that, at the Pleno I missed, Sampo from P.P. has resigned from P.P. so is no longer part of the administration but an independent with a vote but no portfolio.

I also understand that it was a very heated meeting during which some of the councillors nearly came to blows. This is 3rd hand information but I believe there may be some edited footage of it on the pSOE Facebook page.

The happiness was caused by the fact that they had just heard that the Cajamar bank through whom many have mortgages has been instructed that it cannot enforce its limit on how low the interest rate can go. Currently most were on a fixed minimum of 3.5 percent whereas the Libor rate is way below that. It means as much as €200 per month to some of the staff. Secondly it transpires that one of the TH employees has won 15 million on the lottery together with a monthly figure for 25 years. Their identity is not known.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


We got back home from holiday yesterday afternoon and I will get into the TH later this week and try and find out all the details of what I have missed. I will also be recording my annoyance at not being given the detail of anything by email whilst I was away. I had left a request for either Kiko or Candido to send me an email so that I could keep everyone informed but I got nothing at all, as usual!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spanish Tax Returns

Should have mentioned in the last post that as a result of a conversation I had in the Town Hall I now know of a professional person who works for many of the bigger Finance companies and solicitors, who is able to provide a Spanish Tax Return service, at a fraction of the normal cost. The cost would be €50 per couple

As you all know I do not advertise on this blog but I am making an exception in this case. The person concerned has many years experience and, as I said above, works for many of the main companies who provide this service. So if you have not yet done your Spanish Tax returns and wish to have a word with this individual just drop me an email and I will provide the contact details.

Failed Again

Sorry people but I have failed again to speak with Candido (or Kiko) this week.

I had hoped to speak with them to discuss
1. how the budget negotiations were going.
2. the response of the solicitors regarding the appeal re Calle Nervion.
3. how the sewerage plant was going to be tackled.
4. how the WiFi repairs were going to progress
5. how the money for the roads was going to be made available
6. list of street lights not working
but obviously that was impossible today.

I have left a list of these issues with Andreas to pass to them with a strong suggestion that whenever any of these issues are sorted that I am informed. I will not hold my breath!!!

I did pick up from Isa a copy of the Court Judgement regarding the houses on Calle Nervion and it does show that the Judge believed the cvidence of two Junta employees Dona Maria Dolores Aguilera Molina (chief of the territorial and ordenation of urbanism) and another lady from the Junta who gave evidence to say that they had visited Los Carasoles and the houses were not in the area of Los Carasoles and, as mentioned in the original post about this, had no infrastructure at all and the access to Calle Nervion was purely through open countryside!  Obvious nonsense.

Also discovered as a result of information from an ex pat resident that there is a strange scenario on Google maps regarding Calle Nervion. If you look it up either on google maps or goolzoom it shows the area, which is Los Carasoles, as Los Menchones which is 6 kms to the west! Additionally the only street shown is Calle Nervion with countryside all around. With a suspicious mind like mind I wonder who could have communicated that information to the mapping agency and why! I have left a note for passing to the solicitors regarding this fact although I would have thought they had checked.

I only have a paper copy of this sentence at the moment but, if anyone wants a copy, (it runs to 28 pages of legalise Spanish) I will try and get an electronic copy sorted out.

The Town Hall have known of my holiday plans (away from 3rd to 20th May) for over 2 weeks now and they have arranged the next Pleno for next Monday when I am not here. Great it just gets better.