Valdebebas’ Legal Problems: The End Is In Sight

21 September 2016 – El Mundo

The capital’s residential sector has endured several months of uncertainty, awaiting the ruling from the Supreme Court (TS) regarding the appeals filed against the express review of Madrid’s Urban Planning General Plan, undertaken by the Town Hall of Madrid during Ana Botella’s mandate.

The ruling, which the Supreme Court finally published on Tuesday, validates the legality of the PGOUM and means that urban development can now resume in the capital with a sound legal base. The main beneficiary of this ruling is the area of Valdebebas, affected by a first instance judgement from the Dispute Tribunal number 24 in Madrid, which declared the economic urban planning project null and void in July.

As a result of this ruling, the Town Hall notified the Valdebebas Compensation Board at the beginning of August that “on criteria of prudence”, it would suspend the granting of all new construction permits until it was aware of the meaning of the ruling from the Supreme Court. This setback represented the latest obstacle in a long list of legal proceedings that Valdebebas has been involved in since 2012.

According to sources, this legal uncertainty and the questions regarding the meaning of the ruling from the Supreme Court have paralysed some important land purchase operations – they have been delayed until the contents of the ruling are known. Now, and after hearing the ruling from the Supreme Court, the Valdebebas Compensation Board believes that normality will return.

In this sense, according to a statement, the Board will request the Town Hall of Madrid for “its support to restore the urban planning instruments (that were recently cancelled) as soon as possible, so as to be able to offer all of the legal guarantees necessary to neighbours, cooperatives and property developers”. The Board says “that it does not see any reason for the Town Hall to maintain its recent stance of suspending the processing and granting of construction licences”.

“It is time to implement solutions and we are going to urgently seek the necessary collaboration with the Town Hall”, said Jorge Serrano, manager of the Valdebebas Compensation Board.

“Today we are all celebrating the support for the decisions and developments made and for the opportunities being presented to continue to respond in a normalised and sustainable way to the growing residential demand that Madrid is experiencing at the moment”, he added.

The ruling has partially upheld some of the appeals, annulling the Transitory Disposition of the Agreement dated 1 August 2013, which sought to provide retroactive effects, but has limited its annulling effects exclusively to three urban planning projects that were carried out following the ruling from the Supreme Court on 28 September 2012 and until the resolution to approve the general plan was agreed on 1 August 2013.

According to an explanation provided by the Compensation Board in a note, in the case of Valdebebas, the ruling affects only the construction licence granted in 2012 for plot 168 (Residencial Adhara), which has been cancelled, although that does not have any practical impact given that the building on that land is covered by a subsequent licence granted in 2014.

Original story: El Mundo (by Luis M. De Ciria)

Translation: Carmel Drake