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.”