Bittersweet victory after couple’s home bulldozed


Eight years ago, during a dinner party with friends, the Priors realised that a situation, which at first had been nothing more than a worrying suspicion, had turned into a full-blown nightmare when a fleet of bulldozers and Guardia Civil officers appeared on their doorstep intent on knocking down their beautiful new home.

And knock it down they did. Given only a few hours to vacate, the Priors’ newly built property worth €690,000 lay in rubble at their feet. Due to ‘planning irregularities’ Len and Helen Prior, both 72, had their home demolished even though the couple maintain they had been given all the necessary building regulations. The Priors have been fighting the local town council in Vera for years to get justice for their loss of property, finances and emotional stress.

Helen Prior explained when the property was knocked down her husband Len collapsed and was ordered by doctors not to go back to the site due to the stress whereas Helen slept in her car, refusing to leave. Mrs Prior told EWN: “We have had the worry of this for 10 years. We are now 72 years old and don’t know how much more we can take.”

A court has now ruled that their local town hall had been wrong to send in the bulldozers and has ordered Vera Council to pay them compensation of €425,185 plus interest. Although this is a bittersweet victory for the couple who, after paying the legal fees, will barely see any of the compensation, it is also suspected that the town hall will confirm they are appealing the case. Mrs Prior commented that the “Spanish Government have treated us worse than slugs.”

Since the demolition the couple have been living in the garage on the plot with their three dogs and two cats and are battling on to try to resolve the situation that has “completely ruined our lives.” Mrs Prior continued “The Spanish government need to apologise and return our planning licence.” The Priors feel they have been “victimised and made scapegoats.”


  1. This really has been an utter disgrace and must have damaged the Spanish economy to no ends, it can only be a warning to others investing in this country that having the proper paperwork can mean nothing here! People only have one life and as the years go by you can’t get them back, a great retirement and investment experience this country has been for the Priors and others.
    I would bet the people responsible in the town hall for making this decision that ruined these 2 peoples lives have lost nothing and have no worry with the law being thrown at them, of course not, as the system is totally corrupt!

    I note also that this case has been brought to Brussels and nothing has been done there either, well done Brussels, nice to see you care about all your EU citizens who are squashed by corruption in an EU country without justice or civil rights by the same means 😉

  2. when we came over in 1987 and bought a resale our
    friends thought us mad.
    we had seen the property,put down a deposit, back to uk to finalise things and a month later did the deal and moved in.we were very lucky unlike a lot who bought at that time. The house was sound and no problems and my husband died there. I had to sell it due to the DWP’s incompentence – leaving me with out money for thirteen weeks/ 3 months.
    I then bough a new build – an absolute disaster.

  3. These abuses, fraud and corruption continue throughout Spain, both Government and Town Halls rob us and if we want out there’s often no escape without suffering large losses. I put together my blog (Judgment Day) on just this subject at the end of last year to try and highlight what’s going on in the hope at least a few people can be saved from what the Priors have had to go through…

  4. Yet there is an abandoned half-built, illegal house on our urbanisation that is still standing. Thus making it incredibly difficult for neighbours to sell up and move on. The Ayuntamiento refuses to give out any information. Spain really does need to sort itself out.

    This is a great country UNTIL something goes wrong and then the chances of getting just treatment if you’re fighting the authorities is virtually nil

  5. Yes Annie you totally correct the Town Halls and Government departments are inherently corrupt and are only interested in us for OUR MONEY they take everything they can even when the laws say they should not…. I have lived here for 30 years, have a Spanish wife and family and have dedicated the last 6 months to trying to bust the corruption in our area my blog is “starting” to have “some” effect… l reckon it will take me 5 years to show any results..


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