Monday, 18 May 2009

Contacted 27 owners of properties in Marbella requesting documentation proving their entitlement to enclosures of land


Coasts authority has contacted 27 owners of properties in Marbella requesting documentation proving their entitlement to enclosures of land which has been legally part of the public domain since boundaries were determined in the 60s and 70s. Owners have been given until next week to provide documentary proof of the legality of walls, fences, pools, sheds and gardens, otherwise they will be required to draw back their boundaries. One of the homes affected is in the name of Cayetan Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba, whose garden wall appears to enclose 32 square metres of public land. Others include part of the Hotel Marbella Club gardens, and a wall on the Cortijo Blanco beach belonging to Marbella Town Hall.
‘Costas’ will be moving its attention next to more recent buildings which may infringe the rules of the 1988 Coasts Law, which imposed new zoning rules and gave greater protection, for example, to sand dunes. By the time compliance with all the more recent regulations is enforced, it is estimated that 68,341 square metres of seafront land may be restored to public ownership.Spain’s Socialist government, keen to clean up the ugly concrete jungle along its costas, has taken a dim view of the duchess’s turreted summer residence on the Costa del Sol and wants parts of it bulldozed. A wall and a lawn leading to Casablanca beach in Marbella may contravene the so-called Coastal Law which states that all land within 100m (328ft) of a shoreline is public property and bans building within that area. Any private building falling within this zone can be knocked down depending on a local authority’s interpretation and enforcement of the legislation. The law has ramifications for thousands of British expatriates who bought villas next to the Mediterranean and now face the prospect that their properties could be reduced to rubble. Homes owned by Spaniards have already been knocked down in Tenerife and Cantabria in northern Spain. Francisco Javier Hermoso, head of the regional Coastal Authority, said that the Duchess had eight days to prove that her property was built with legal permission. If it is deemed to have broken the law part of the sumptuous residence could be knocked down. If the bulldozers roll up, it will be the latest humiliation for the fiery-tempered aristocrat. A regular face in Spain’s prensa rosa — or gossip press — her love life has recently provided succulent reading after it emerged that her children opposed her planned marriage to a family friend 24 years her junior. “They don’t want me to marry, but they change partners more often than I do,” she told the Spanish media. The waxen-faced duchess, whose full name is Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva — she counts the Stuart king James II of England among her ancestors — is often photographed at society gatherings and bullfights, where her former son-in-law, Francisco Rivera Ordóñez, a popular matador, is the star attraction. As well as not having to kneel before the Pope, her other ancient rights include the unique privilege of being able to ride into the immense Seville Cathedral on horseback. A previous Duchess of Alba was the model — and supposed lover — of Francisco de Goya. Two of Goya’s most famous portraits, The Clothed Maja and The Naked Maja, hang in the Madrid palace where the present Duchess was born. She was a dazzling beauty in her youth and her wedding in 1947 to Luis Martinez de Irujo y Artacoz was described as “the most expensive in the world”. After her first husband’s death, she stunned public opinion by marrying Jesús Aguirre y Ortiz de Zárate, a free-thinking former Jesuit priest, in 1978. Today the duchess cuts a strange figure with her high-pitched voice and frail health. She was recently photographed in a wheelchair at a society wedding and nearly choked to death on orange juice. About 500,000 British and other property owners fear that the Government is not content with enforcing the Coastal Law but wants to make it retroactive. After condemnation of the law by the European Parliament and pressure from the British and German Governments Spain has agreed to allow owners to sell affected properties.

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