Following the announcement this week that the finance department of Torrevieja town hall has reduced its debt by 8 million euro, and the subsequent discovery that they could have made a lot more, if not for the 16 million euro paid out in “land-grab” cases, the town hall has now revealed a new initiative to make extra funds, by selling some of the land it had expropriated.
Expropriation of land, or “land-grab” as it became commonly known during the times when many cases across the Valencia region where being highlighted by both the press and the courts, allows authorities such as councils to take land from individuals or businesses for development purposes, subject to justified reasons, and convert the land within the Plan General for an alternative purpose.
Many of these cases in the local area have seen the courts favour the previous owner of plots of land, with both Torrevieja and Orihuela during the previous administration of the PP having to pay substantial damages to those who had land taken, after the courts deemed they were inadequately financially compensated in the first place.
The Councillor of Finance in Torrevieja, Joaquín Albaladejo of the ruling Partido Popular government, confirmed that the municipality intends to carry out the sales, as the change in the housing market has meant a change in the needs of the municipality. The councillor also pointed out that some of the plots had already generated interest in the past, in particular the areas around the Ozone leisure centre, the Habaneras shopping centre and the Torreta urbanisations.
Some of the plots in question are currently designated as “green areas”, or parklands, whereas others have the designation of being of use that can change according to the needs of the development intending to be built. Many of the plots in question have been considered to be in municipal hands since 1987.
Torrevieja had faced claims totalling 100 million euro for expropriation, but that figure was reduced to 30 million in total, but even that could have been considerably lower if not for the fact that the courts agreed the payment of interest accrued over the years the land has been in dispute.
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