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Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday 30th June

Spent a few hours in the TH this morning with various councillors and was able to broach a number of issues which you had raised. For many I have directly emailled the answers rather than put on here. So if your issue is not covered on here, or answered by me directly, then I have made a mistake and please send me another email.

Firstly there are 4 places available on the trip to Cadiz next week. 2 Spanish couples had to withdraw. So if you fancy a trip to a hotel in La Linea de Concepcion on the 2nd June for 4 nights until the 6th June for only €25 per person then call into the TH with your passport or NIE, on Monday to inform them of that. There are at least 2 expat couples already on the trip. Wish I could go but still waiting op date for Sue.

Secondly it looks as if we have some good news regarding our application for funds to make repairs to all the areas which were affected by the storm of September 2012. A communication has been received which gives us cause for hope but we need to examine the papers in depth before we can make any announcement. So I hope to be able to publish the detail of this next week.

Fran is going to produce the marble block for the RBL memorial early next week! He said.

I asked about the order for the street signs which we are still awaiting and Candido said we need to ask Paco but he is too busy with the Palaces fiesta today, so I will leave that until next week.

I asked Candido about the area, to the back of the Auroras, in La Alfoquia and he reiterated the fact which had told me many times before that we had run out of money to finish that area but there may be an option to use some other funds. He does have it in mind and hopes to finish it one of these days.

Regarding the WiFi almost all areas should now have good connections to the TH WiFi system as they have replaced nearly every part of it and recent tests seem to show it running in a stable fashion. That is unless you know different!

Regarding the Bowling Green we are still waiting for Nila to complete the works to our satisfaction before we can move on to the next stage. This has been slightly compounded by the fact that it looks like the guy who runs the gym is looking to quit. We had a short conversation about whether it may be worthwhile considering one company to run all the facilities at this location as they are all sports things, but no decision can be made until we have everything completed and discussed in pleno.

Regarding the rut in the road between Cucador and Los Llanos I again raised this issue and Luis informed me that due to the fact that the farmer had not made it good the TH would be resurfacing the road and claiming the money back from him.

Re the new street plan for Los Llanos it still needs amendments which I will try and get the architect to do next week and then we should be in a position to take it for manufacturing. Sorry for the delay (again!).

Thanks to the generosity of a number of you Shelagh Murdoch and Jock Tolley in particular we have been able to provide over 100 english books, loads of video tapes and DVDs to the village library in Zurgena. So hopefully we can develope that aspect of the biblioteca.

Finally just a reminder regarding the tour round the Spanish Legion base in June (date to be agreed) Anyone interested in this please let me know by next Wednesday as I need to finalise numbers.

As usual any questions or queries just email or ring.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spanish Legion

Nothing to do with the TH this post.

Some of you may recall the trips we made to the Spanish Legion base at Viator, Near Almeria, on a few occasions last year. These trips were primarily a visit of a few hours, a tour around the base, escorted by serving ranking officers in the legion, practising their command of english, followed by a lunch either on the base or nearby. My colleague who organises these events has been in touch to inform me of two events.

Firstly, and he apologises for the lateness of the notification, but there is a parade this Saturday. The idea being that anyone who wishes to attend the parade may do so. If they arrive at between 1030 and 1100 hours on Saturday morning at the base. The parade commences at midday and lasts about an hour then to go for lunch somewhere. Anyone wishing to attend should let me know of their intention asap together with their NIE number/passport number in order that I can inform security at the base.

Secondly there is an opportunity to organise another group trip around the base, like the previous ones we did. In those cases all I need is a rough idea of the numbers of people who would like to have a guided tour round the base, seeing such things as, pictures of Franco when he was commandant of the Legion and souvenirs of their campaigns etc. I would look to organise that for sometime, suitable to all, during June. What we did previously on these tours was again spend time in the museum, visit the various parts of the base, where we had information on the activities, and then adjourn for lunch either in the mess or at a restaurant nearby. People would make their own way to the base and we would meet up there.

So if you are interested in either a) the parade this Saturday or b) the guided tour round the base please let me know by email at or on my mobile 661147554.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Last Nights Meeting

Many thanks to the over 150 people who attended last nights PGOU meeting. I always think it is beneficial to have good turn outs at such events as it shows the powers that be how important we value such meetings.

I was particularly pleased with Fran's presentation last night as he did not waste time on the machinations of compiling the POGOU but rather went straight to the examples of each area and showed the significance of the colour on the plan which I have replicated (as requested) below. This helped everyone I think understand the differences between each of the areas on the plan.

The only other colour which shows on the plans and which I think is of interest is the pink areas which denote areas of water or waste/sewerage piping and/or treatment plants.

Oh and I almost forgot I have acquired a rather smart gents boater straw hat in white with bl;ue striped band which someone on a row near the front left behind last night. If you know of someone who was at the meeting with such a hat and who left without it please get them to get in touch. Thanks.

As usual if you have any questions or concerns just drop me an email.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Elections & Last PGOU Meeting

In case you have missed all the publicity the European Parliamentary elections are to be held in Spain this coming Sunday. If you are entitled to vote you should have received your voting card by now. The polling stations will be open from 0900 until 2000 on Sunday 25th May. There is plenty of electioneering blurbs on the internet and in the press to assist you in how to vote.

Secondly just a reminder that the past open meeting to explain the situation regarding the provisional PGOU is to be held, day after tomorrow, (Thursday) in the Renfe at La Alfoquia at 7.30pm and I am assured, that this time, the OHP will function properly with the additional advantage of being in english as well as Spanish. The main presentation, as last time, will be by the technical architect responsible for the vast majority of the work involved in compiling it. He will outline how we have got to where we are now and the process going forward and also how you can, if you have any issues, take them up before the plan is passed by the Council and submitted to the Junta for approval. If you have any general questions about the plan or its process this will be one of your last chances. Remember we are, I believe, the first and only council to have a provisional plan that has reached this stage and those involved are to be applauded for surmounting all the problems put in our way to get to this stage.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Meeting, Sewerage, WiFi, Street Lights and English Library.

Thanks to those who attended last nights meeting in the theatre in Zurgena re the PGOU. I apologise for the hiccup with the computer and the fact that the OHPs were all in Spanish. Luis has promised that it will all be in english at the next meeting next Thursday 22nd at 7.0pm in the Renfe.

I think the majority of those present from the expat community were pleased with what they heard.

I managed to get a bit of time with Candido today about some of our outstanding issues as follows,

Regarding the sewerage treatment plant to the south of Cuesta de los Pinos which has still not been repaired since the flood of 2012 I again asked when we could see an improvement in the situation as we are now facing our 3rd summer with open untreated sewerage. Candido explained that it has been included in theProvincial Plan for approval by the Diputacion (included in this is also funding to complete the sewerage connection from Los Llanos del Peral down to Cuesta de los Pinos) but he then noted that he had not heard any commentary about this issue and that we should have done by now. He said he would make enquiries and if the work was going to be carried out soon then - no problem. However, if he discovered that it was going to take some time we (Zurgena TH) will buy the necessary equipment (€12,500 for the pump and distribution paddle) and try and find the money from somewhere else. He gave me an undertaking that it would be sorted before the end of June!!

I then asked what stage we were at with Nila re the completion of the work on the bowling green. He informed m,e that they have not yet completed the work on the fence  and another small part before they can get the contract signed off and we can move to the contract situation.

I asked if I could yet release any of the information regarding the upgrades top the WiFi. Candido said that I could now inform people of the current situation. The reason I was unable to do so before was to prevent any adverse reactions to our new install.

The situation now is that most of those who connect directly with the WiFi signal from the clock tower are now receiving a stable and constant signal, at the bandwidth they are contracted for. The TH engineer has done this in most cases remotely by using a separate computer. The new system is a great enhancement on the old system. It is much more stable, is fully encrypted and therefore much more secure. The security is enhanced by the use of additional servers preventing anyone accessing, through the network, anothers' IP address. I asked if there would be any future opportunity to increase the speed of connection and Candido asked what I wanted the connection for. When I told him live streaming of TV he said that it was more important to have a stable and constant speed rather than a higher speed. I will monitor it over the next few days and feed back to him any issues I have but, he seems quietly confident of the new systems performance.

The engineer states that those connecting directly through the airmax or similar aerials should be getting the signal from the new 5ghz servers. Those accessing indirectly eg through repeater points such as those in low lying on non line of sight  areas are having there repeaters changed over during this coming weeks. Tuesday they are finishing La Alfoquia, Wednesday Cuesta de los Pinos, Thursday Los Menchones and the remainder Friday. Palaces has already been completed.

Once all the repeaters and known individual aerials have been changed I will post on here and if anyone, who is a customer of the TH WiFi, is still having a problem the engineer will resolve it. We are sorry it has taken so long to rectify this problem but the list of problems we encountered were many and various. It has not been an easy fix and the entire system has had to be rebuilt from the ground up.

I again asked about when if ever we are going to be able to repair the roads washed out from the storm of 2012 mentioning in particular Calles Finlandia, Hungria and Escocia. Candido said that we have still not been given one euro by the Junta to make these repairs and they would probably be too expensive for us to try and undertake ourselves. He is aware of the situation and will keep it in mind when discussing similar things with the people in Almeria and also should the opportunity arise through any local contractor who may be able to do the work at a price we could afford. I am afraid it is just a question of waiting on this one.

He did inform me that we are still hoping to get the street lights installed and working on both the main street in Cucador/Los Llanos area. That will be Avenida Europa and Avenida Poetas.

I asked Luis today about the library, as we had previously had a conversation about opening the village library in Zurgena and the fact that the Town Hall hoped to have a good sized english section. He agreed that I could issue an appeal to anyone who has any books, that they have no longer any need for, and which could form the basis of the english language section in the library. If anyone does have such books please either get in touch so I can collect them or you can drop them off at the TH. It would be good to contribute to the establishment of our own part of the local library so please help.

Lastly a plea for help. I have been given voting cards for two individuals which had been placed in the wrong post box and they are for a John Robert and Gillian Margaret Neville. If anyone knows them please ask them to get in touch and I will hand them their voting cards.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

PGOU & Spanish TV Prog & Raffle

Firstly just a reminder that tomorrow 15th May at 7.30pm in the Theatre in Zurgena (and the following Thursday at the same time in the Renfe) the Mayor and Architect will be explaining an overview of our PGOU. Bear in mind there are only 100 seats in the Theatre but there will be more space the following week in the Renfe.

Secondly I have been asked by the AUAN to publicize the below event at which they are asking for any persons adversely affected by the planning situation to attend and show solidarity with and support of those in such situations by attending this event.


THIS FRIDAY 16th May at 10.00am, LA PARRILLA, ALBOX. - A National Prime Time Spanish Television Programme (Comando Actualidad) is making a program about the problem of planning irregularities in Spain and they wish to convey a sense of the impact of this problem on foreign homeowners.

If your property is in the courts or you have no paperwork or no services or have been waiting for years to be included in a town plan and you are fed up and want to increase the pressure for solutions and change then please come to LA Parrilla at 10.00am on Friday.

Should take no more than 1 hour of your time and all you need to do is be there.

Lastly I will be in the TH tomorrow and Friday morning should anyone wish to buy the raffle tickets in support of our village band. Tickets €1.50 prizes are a ham and a Plasma Television.

Friday, May 9, 2014

PGOU online & Michael Anthony COLLINS

Firstly, as requested by many of you, the provisional PGOU is available to view online through the Town Halls' own website so you can see for your self how your property is shown.

If you go to then select from the left hand menu, 'Tablon de Anuncios".
On the next page select the first option 'Audiencia de Informacion Publica." then the sub heading, 'Aprobacion Inicial nuevo PGOU.'
You will then be presented with 16 different PDF files. Each files name identifies the area it covers
eg 0Alf is the first one for La Alfoquia and 0Cacu is Los Carasoles Cucador. 0PA is Palaces etc. So select the one that has a prefix appropriate for your location and then check the display of your property and by reference to the colour codes identify what your land is shown as being for the purposes of the PGOU.

If you have any queries then, if I can help, I will but, if of a technical nature or dispute, then it is better to talk with our Technico Luis. He will be busy but, where possible, will try and see anyone who wishes to discuss his/her issues. I would suggest calling in and if he is not available try and make an appointment.

The meetings on the 15th and 22nd Will not be ones where individual issues can be discussed, the idea of those meetings is to explain to people an overview of the plan and what norms will apply should the PGOU get passed. I am advised they will not wish to take individual property questions as this would take up too much time. Such matters can be dealt with through Luis (architect) in the TH.

I had a lengthy meeting with Luis (the Mayor) and Candido about the PGOU and its progress or otherwise over the next few months. Whilst we have to be careful not to get too carried away we are hopeful. Just as at the meeting in Fines last Monday night then a senior politician visited to explain their support for plans we have to remember that the same happened 5 years ago! The one big difference this time is the law has changed and once we have submitted our PGOU the Junta have to respond within 5 months and we strongly believe that this plan adheres to what they have decreed should be done. There is a lot of politicking to go yet but we are optimistic.

We are also going to try and improve further, the help desk for expats. You may recall that Anthonio has now got a role within the TH to assist expats with any health, social or integration issues. He should be regularly available for anyone with any questions etc. He is, as I have previously said, bilingual, and he knows the Spanish health and social system inside out so can provide help at all levels. If you can use him then please do.

I have been given a quantity of raffle tickets to sell to raise funds for the village band. The prizes are a Plasma TV and a ham. The price of the tickets is €1.50 each and the draw will take place on the 28th June in the Municipal theatre. If you would like to buy some just let me know. I may try to go door to door but I am not good at that sort of thing.

Lastly 2 things for individuals.

1. Does anyone know of a Michael Anthony NICHOLLS. We have some property of his which I am sure he would like to get back. If you do know this chap please get him to get in toiuch.

2. Sharon Denise FERGUSON, ex-owner of a vehicle 3064 BBX this vehicle is attracting an increasing fine as notifications to its owner have failed to reach the individual.
If you know this person please let her know.

As usual any queries or issues please email me or call.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Briefing re the PGOU

For anyone interested in the PGOU the below event will give you an opportunity to discuss the plan.
Both meeting will be bilingual affording you all of an opportunity to understand it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Full article from Spanish Press for your information.

This is a copy from the Spanish Press of the ruling by the court re Calle Nervion. The point that hits me is the reference to the fact that the ruling took into account the 'good faith' principlke which is a great help for all such cases.

The Court reverses conviction for trespass Candide Trabalon
The sentence, with a dissent, cancels demolition weighing about 12 homes owned by British citizens
Europa Press    [05/06/2014 - 18:32]

 [The Voice]
The Audiencia Provincial de Almería has revoked the sentence of 21 months in prison and nine years of prevarication disqualification imposed by the former mayor and current councilman Zurgena Works, Cándido Trabalon (PA), believing that in the license approval for 12 houses in the hamlet 'The Carasoles' "brokered" report both the architect and the city clerk in which "is not said nothing about the illegality of the works." Judgment, with a dissent, notes that, regardless of "legal treatises" on whether or not the soil is developable, "lack the specific intent" both Trabalon and other councilors of the corporation to issue an "arbitrary decision knowing clearly and glaring form illegality "and stresses that" has not been proved in this case collusion or agreement between them in a preconceived plan to convert agricultural land into developable. " "Do not forget that councilors are professionals who work part-time in the City Council, acting in full accordance with the technical reports and the secretary implied that the requirements were given so that it could approve the building permit application, and wherein the former mayor even knew of a transformer for low tension for several years in the area in which the houses were built on the basis of his work as an electrician, "says the court in the First Section in its resolution, which had access to Europa Press. indicates that these reports were related to municipal planning regulations and Article 45 of the Law on Urban Planning of Andalusia (LOUA) to conclude that the site "was eligible to be considered urban" as being of the water supply and electricity supply in low voltage have road access and be framed in a historical spread but says that "exceeds" their competition by being another jurisdiction to consider whether the license "could be zero or if the requirements of Article 45 of the LOUA occur." La Audiencia Provincial also reverses the conviction for breach of trust planning, according to these arguments, Manuel Tijeras exconcejal Planning and five exediles the corporation zurgenera Aniceto Lopez, Emilia Jimenez, Jose Antonio Ramos, Juan Morales and Josefa Sanchez voted in favor of granting the construction license 'Antonio Jacinta' held in the city in 2005. Magistrate Ana Salmeron pointed them in its judgment of April 2013 as savvy a report issued by the municipal technician Carlos Domingo BF, convicted conformity with that collected " clearly "that the floor was" undeveloped "but pointed to" mendacious way "to meet the requirements of the regional rules in order to build" knowing that later was to participate in the technical direction of the work. " In the If the developer and builder of the work, the administrator of the corporation 'Construcciones SL Jacinta' Antonio LR, and the manager of the construction company 'Procomag SL', Manuel MC, who imposed 21 months in prison and ordered to pay of separate fines 24 months at 50 euros a day as perpetrators of crimes against spatial planning, the Provincial Court also gives absolution. Estima could not know that, even in the case of constructor "having no direct contact with the municipal officers "that the plot on which the houses built had the status of undeveloped land that was granted a construction permit and argues that, in his opinion," there is no conclusive evidence beyond mere suspicion promoter was derived from many years and maintained good relations with the City to ensure that knew the illegality of the license. " "All previously developable land is rustic and municipal license gave the appearance of legality to his intervention," apuntilla. The Provincial Court also revoked in its judgment, no appeal against the demolition order hanging over the houses, in their mostly owned by British citizens resident in the Almanzora and urges the competent administrative authority to assess that purchased homes in "good faith" and recent rules to regulate this type of housing in Andalucia to take steps to restore the planning law. PARTICULAR VOTE The dissenting opinion issued by Judge Juan Antonio Lozano, argues instead that "not irrelevant" the disquisition on Zurgena if applicable in Article 45 of the LOUA and stresses that this is not to convert "developable land in the event of unplanned towns but to define the urban network, beyond which construction is not possible." Indica, "his principal disagreement" that "there is no other reasonable interpretation" and that is "peaceful" that municipal reports "expressly say that the land is not developable" and for granting the license took refuge in two precepts "not intended for the extension of the urban network but to consolidate existing". "With this subterfuge was devised blow as buildable declared the whole land provided that takes place in the vicinity of a preexisting settlement coupled to basic urban services," he adds. concludes, therefore, that the decision of the corporation was "unfair and arbitrary" because "acknowledging the reality of things - undeveloped land - we turn to an unusual and disproportionate legal pirouette for the license was granted" while pointing to the demolition of the house "is compatible with the existence of sales to third parties in good faith, who shall indemnify the authors for any resulting prejudice. " UNDER TWO ACCUSED In the act of judgment, two of the defendants, Carlos Domingo BF and technical director of the play of 12 houses, acknowledged the facts and showed under penalty interested by the prosecutor but the judge agreed to replace the term of imprisonment imposed for twelve months both fines of twelve euros a day. For Carlos Sunday BF author was considered crimes planning, transgression, and negotiations and activities prohibited officials because, once requested the license issued, "knowing that would later participate in the conduct of the work" a report that, despite that he was aware that the ground was undeveloped, said that the plot had all the conditions laid down in LOUA.

Great News Day

As some of you already know the Town Hall have won the case regarding the building licences for Calle Nervion in Los Carasoles.

Not only did they win it, the court has set a precedent, which we all, in the T.H., believe will apply to all outstanding cases and frees Candido and others of charges. The court also ruled that the Junta could not appeal the ruling. The received the news so well that they have all gone off to the pub to celebrate, without me! Maybe we are slowly seeing the end of the problems.

And the news keeps getting better. My wife was released today from Huercal Overa hospital but she requires a small operation to remove some stone like thingies that were discovered in her gall bladder and may well have contributed if not caused the Pancreatitis. Only down side is that she can have no alcohol, no fried foods, no sauces, no fats and lots of other things but small price to pay to get better.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cheap Trip

The Town Hall has a trip to La Linea de Concepcion on the 2nd June until the 6th June and the cost is only €25 per person. Now that is a bargain!

This is an excellent price for the trip. I am only sorry that I could not give earlier notification but it was only released this afternoon and I have just got home from hospital.

Places are limited but if you are interested in going you need to call into the Town Hall after 10.0am tomorrow to pay the fee and take a copy of your NIE with you. The councillor responsible for this trip is Noelia.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Just a reminder about the meeting at 7.0pm tomorrow. The AUAN requested that I inform people about this meeting. I was going to go myself but Sue is still in hospital so I will not be going.

Esteban Gonzalez Pons, a senior figure in the Spanish government is coming to Fines on the 5th of May (tomorrow). He will attract a lot of press attention and it is an ideal opportunity for the foreign community to show that we want the planning/housing issues resolved sooner rather than later.

The European Elections are coming (25th May) and foreign residents in and around the Almanzora Valley now have an opportunity to address their concerns about the issue of illegal houses directly to a representative of the highest echelons of the PP party in Spain, standing as number two on the party's list for the EU elections. (see press release below)

We encourage anyone who has an interest in this issue to attend this public meeting and show that foreign residents want the problem of legal uncertainty in the property market to be solved.

To be held at the Salon de Actos' at 7.0pm at the entrance to Fines and the meeting is open to the public.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Help Desk

Well I never. I spend a week at the hospital and this is what happens!!!

The 'Help Desk', whose services are provided on site of theTown Hall, offers the British the possibility of managing all kinds of procedures that are usually done at the Consistorio though with the ability to use their native language for assistance or convey their suggestions, questions or problems. The desk has been promoted by the Department of Social Welfare, Health and Education in collaboration with the British Senior Community, headed by councillor Jim Simpson.
Among the steps that have been made during the few days it has been running it has has assisted citizens in both languages in matters such as getting registered on the Social Security system, the medical register or in helping bereaved families of British origin. "Implementing a 'Help Desk' was essential to further integrate the British community in our town and to assist in troubleshooting and procedures that are sometimes so complex that one could only solve them receiving the aid in their native language, "said Ana Gonzalez, councilor responsible for Social Welfare, Health and Education.
This initiative is in addition to other initiatives promoted by the Town Hall such as informative talks on the Spanish health services for British residents in Spain or the Days of the Third Age, whose activities were held in Castilian and English. For zurgenero mayor, Luis Diaz, any "Citizen of Zurgena , regardless of their nationality, has the right to receive all necessary information and assistance from the City Council," so he has invited "all who need it" to seize "the advice and services provided by the 'Help Desk'.
In the municipality of Zurgena there is an established population of approximately 1,300 residents of British origin, so the creation of the 'Help Desk' is a major step forward in assistance from the Town Hall, and it is hoped it reaches the population as quickly and efficiently as possible. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm.

This was posted on the TH page today.

Unfortunately Sue is being kept in hospital until at least Monday of next week. Sorry normal service will be resumed, some time next week hopefully!