Valdebebas Co-Ops Gravely Affected by a Legal Conflict

On one hand, an urban development converted into thousands of constructed and inhabited dwellings. On the other, a powerful and stubborn plaintiff trying hard not to allow Madrid´s City Council, developers and financial institutions to have it their way.

In the middle of the legal battle about an error in the Valdebebas housing project, hundreds of cooperatives´ members cannot move in their paid, finished houses. The situation pushes many of the families into serious economical troubles.

Therefore, affected neighbours created the Valdebebas Neighbours´ Association two weeks ago with view to drawing attention to the legal fuss halting and delaying delivery of the homes since summer 2011.

In June, Madrid´s High Court announced that land distribution in the Valdebebas project is invalid. Immediately after, the City Council paralized concession of new building permits and first occupancy licences, mandatory for habitation of a finished unit.

Works on a new re-allotment project are carried out. The soonest, it may be approved in November. The Association claims “there are no legal basis for not granting the permits”.

Although the local authorities are ready to solve the problem and admit the root of it lays in an flawed Town Planning project, all the affected people point at the plaintiff as the true culprit for their suffering. Namely, Luis Ignacio Martinez Alias and his lawyer José Ignacio Hernandez Obelart. “This man acts against families,” they say.

The accused respond “we just want the law to be obeyed (…). Our enemies are not the co-ops but those who obtained profits from illegal construction on non-building plots: the land owners, public administrations and banks“.

“My client does not seek harming the families as he did not filed for evictions or the buildings´destruction“, assures Mr Hernandez Obelart. “He thinks the affected people should look for good lawyers and stand up to banks [that financed the illegal activity] and authorities. (…) We simply are not going to let them get away with the crime”, he concludes.

“Moreover, we are open to suggestions how to solve the issue. We do not demand money but if settling the case amicably was an option, we would go for it if the court agrees“, Obelart admitted in a phone conversation. He changes the tone though when a possibility mentioned that the City Hall starts granting the occupancy lincences. “They won´t dare”, he says. “If they do, we may go mad”.

However, Town Planning department spokeswoman Paz Gonzalez declared the city is ready to attend the question as soon as possible. “We will give priority to this case and will we continue to support the neighbors and their rights” she said Wednesday.

Original article: El Mundo (by Luis M. de Ciria)
Translation: AURA REE

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