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British ex-pat, 67, is forced to DESTROY his Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

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A British ex-pat has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer.

But the situation for 67-year-old Gurney Davey, from Suffolk, could get worse because he is facing six months in prison after a mayor illegally gave him planning permission for the house.

‘I was distraught at first, my blood pressure was sky high and then I lost my wife,’ Mr Davey said this week as he was demolishing his home near Tolox, Malaga.

Gurney Davey, 67, has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Gurney Davey, 67, has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Despite Friday’s demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as ‘some sort of relief’ having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house he built in 2003. 

It was then that legal firm, Manzanares, informed him he would be getting a licence for an ‘almacen’ (or storeroom), which would allow him to build the house.

‘We thought we had done everything right. We got legal advice and went through a lawyer in order to get permission to build the home,’ Davey explained. 

But he was later told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence of his own.

Mr Davey was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71.

‘Diana fought breast cancer for six years before bowel cancer – I am sure the stress brought it on.’ 

‘But thankfully it is now over,’ he explained. ‘It has been going on for so long now, I’ve finally come to terms with what needs to be done. 

‘Having it demolished was actually a relief,’ he added.

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it – just not in a house.

Despite Friday's demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as 'some sort of relief' having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house be built in 2003. Pictured: Mr Davey's home in Spain before it was demolished on Friday

Despite Friday’s demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as ‘some sort of relief’ having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house be built in 2003. Pictured: Mr Davey’s home in Spain before it was demolished on Friday

Mr Davey was told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence. Pictured: Mr Davey's home in Spain after it was demolished on Friday

Mr Davey was told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence. Pictured: Mr Davey’s home in Spain after it was demolished on Friday

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs still have the space to roam.

‘This land is my home, it is my life and these dogs are all I have left.’

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed.

The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour’s house.

‘I went straight to Tolox town hall with it. They told me I shouldn’t have received it yet,’ he recalled. ‘They said they were going to be sending the notification to me once they had stamped it.’

He had never been told about the court case that followed on from a Guardia Civil denuncia for an ‘illegal build’, but Davey’s two-bed home should never have been built according to the Malaga court.

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs (pictured) still have the space to roam

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs (pictured) still have the space to roam

In 2016, and then again in 2017, Davey was ordered to knock down his house, but, in common with a neighbour, he waited for more details.

While his Spanish neighbour, Irene Millan, 29, did eventually hear from the court again, she was given six months to ‘legalise’ her property – an option Davey was never given.

However, his neighbour’s apparent good luck turned into a poisoned chalice.

Having spent €20,000 with the town hall to legalise the dwelling, the court finally refused to accept the new paperwork provided by the council.

Instead, demolition was ordered – which went ahead last week.

To add insult to injury Irene’s 54-year-old father, Manuel Millan, whose name was on the deeds, was also sentenced to six months jail and handed a fine of €6 a day for a year.

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed. The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour's house

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed. The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour’s house

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it - just not in a house. Pictured: Mr Davey, a former builder, uses a JCB digger to demolish his own home

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it – just not in a house. Pictured: Mr Davey, a former builder, uses a JCB digger to demolish his own home

The couple, originally from Suffolk in the UK, spent £130,000 building their property.

‘It came as a package – a plot with a new home on it.’

Davey admits he and his wife were perhaps naive to follow the advice of their lawyer.

The lawyer, from legal firm Manzanares, told them that planning permission would be applied for as an almacen – or ‘warehouse’.

Mr Davey (pictured) was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71

Mr Davey (pictured) was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71

This way it would come under the remit of Tolox town hall, which would give permission and later they could ‘legalise’ the property.

The language of one legal letter suggests this would be a mere formality, but the property never got legalised.

In fact, the Tolox mayor of the time, Juan Vera, has since been jailed and fined for his part in a scheme.

In most cases the mayor used the very same ‘lax’ procedure of applying to build an ‘almacen’ to try to keep the prying eyes of the Junta authorities away.

‘We thought that was the way things worked in Spain,’ said Davey, a retired builder. ‘We went to see a lawyer and got advice. It turns out that was not the smart thing to do.

‘Why would we deliberately try to build illegally? It makes no sense that we would sell up everything in the UK and risk it all.’

Mr Davey had earlier said that he was forced to ask the town hall for permission to knock his own property down.

‘I will do it myself. I will borrow a JCB from someone and flatten my home of the past 17 years. I will not let the town hall do it and charge me more money.’

It is not the first time British expats have had their homes demolished in Andalucia, with the Priors, in Almeria, the most famous victims.

They still live in the garage of their house today, over 10 years since the house was knocked down in Vera. 

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Maurice Investments sell London office building for €30.3m (GB)

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Allsop, acting jointly alongside Anton Page, has completed the sale of the freehold of a Grade A workspace in Aldgate, central London, on behalf of Maurice Investments for €30.3m (£26m). Acquired by Meadow Partners, the price is equivalent to approximately €1120 (£960) per ft² and a net initial yield of 5%.

 

Wool + Tailor, 10-12 Alie Street E1, comprises 27,158ft² of Grade A office and ancillary accommodation over nine floors. It is within a three-minute walk of Aldgate station and a 15-minute walk of six further train and underground stations, including Whitechapel which is on the newly opened Elizabeth line, and is multi-let to five tenants. Maurice Investments had initially acquired the building in an off-market deal advised by Allsop, which also went on to conclude a successful leasing campaign alongside Anton Page.

 

Wool + Tailor was redeveloped in 2019 to include two additional floors and a new façade, with BREEAM “very good” and EPC A and B ratings. It features an eco-friendly biodiverse roof, cycle racks to accommodate up to 36 bikes, and a WiredScore Gold certification with fibre optic internet. Wool + Tailor further benefits from outstanding natural light throughout, which is enhanced by floor-to-ceiling heights of up to 3.3 metres, and a 7th floor communal business lounge with dual aspect terraces offering panoramic views of the City and beyond.

 

Matthew Millman, Partner at Allsop, said: “The sale of Wool + Tailor concludes a highly successful business plan for our client where we advised on the off-market acquisition, letting, then disposal of what has become one of the finest buildings in Aldgate. Wool + Tailor satisfies the requirements of the modern investor and occupier for ‘best in class’ office space with strong ESG credentials, excellent connectivity and plentiful nearby cafes, bars and restaurants.”

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AnaCap secures €59m loan for Paris office deal (FR)

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Tristan Capital Partners’ TIPS One “Income Plus” Real Estate Debt Fund has provided senior debt financing to funds advised by AnaCap Financial Partners, to support the €59.25m acquisition of South Station, a freehold office asset located in Massy, in the second ring of Paris. South Station is a high-quality property ideally located in Massy – the largest economic centre in the Southern Paris area – and is adjacent to the town’s main transport stations (RER and TGV). The asset is one of the most attractive buildings in the submarket offering modern A-grade office space with excellent amenities.

 

The sale and partial leaseback acquisition will see the vendor CGG, a geophysics specialist, remain as the majority tenant. Pramena Investment will act as the asset manager for the property.

 

Ashil Sodha, Director, Debt Investment at Tristan Capital Partners, said: “As TIPS One continues to diversify, we are pleased to have closed our first loan in France. We are focused on lending on high-quality assets with the right ESG characteristics and we believe this loan exemplifies this strategy well. We look forward to working alongside AnaCap and Pramena and supporting them in optimising their strategy for this asset.”

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Barratt and David Wilson invest €45.5m in UK resi market

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Harworth Group plc has sold two residential land parcel at its Waverley and Thoresby Vale developments to Barratt and David Wilson Homes, for a total consideration of €45.5m (£39m).

 

At Waverley in South Yorkshire, Harworth has competed a €33.8 (£29m) land sale which will see the delivery of approximately 450 homes, of which over 30% will be affordable. This represents Harworth’s largest-ever serviced residential land sale by number of plots. The new homes will represent Barratt and David Wilson Homes’ fifth phase at the site and will be situated adjacent to both Highwall Park and the Waverley Lake, benefitting from unique water frontage in an area of the development known as Waverley Waterfront. Construction will follow a bespoke design code, devised in partnership between Harworth and Barratt and David Wilson Homes, that complements the existing Waverley development while maximising the amenity value of the area’s waterfront location. The development will include a pedestrianised promenade, further enhancing the site’s placemaking and connectivity.

 

At Thoresby Vale in Nottinghamshire, Harworth has exchanged on the sale of serviced land capable of delivering 174 homes, for €11.6m (£10m). This represents the second phase of the Thoresby Vale development, following the sale of two land parcels at the site to Harron Homes and Barratt and David Wilson Homes in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Alongside the new homes, Barratt and David Wilson Homes will provide a new surface water attenuation pond and a multi-use path and associated landscaping, which will enhance connectivity and link to the site’s planned primary school and local centre, for which site preparation works are currently underway. The sales conclude an active first half for Harworth’s residential developments, during which over 100% of its budgeted residential land sales for the year were completed, exchanged or under offer, and it also launched its first single-family Build to Rent portfolio.

 

Andrew Blackshaw, Chief Operating Officer at Harworth, commented: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes is a trusted and valued partner to Harworth, and we are pleased to be developing our relationship with these two significant land sales. Harworth is particularly well-placed in volatile markets as our serviced land provides housebuilders with a product which is de-risked and ready to build on from day one. The acceleration of both our Waverley and Thoresby Vale sites will see Harworth stepping through its strategy to take advantage of the placemaking and levelling up that these schemes ultimately bring to these communities. In addition, these sales will enhance the maturation of these socially diverse neighbourhoods when delivered alongside our recently launched single family Build to Rent product, Project Spur.”

 

Ed Catchpole, Joint Regional Director for Yorkshire & Central at Harworth, added: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes has a proven track record of high-quality housing delivery at Harworth sites, and these transactions will help to further accelerate the build-out and placemaking at Waverley and Thoresby Vale. Both sites are also set to benefit from additional investment which will see the creation of new Build to Rent homes and local amenities.”

 

Mark Cotes, Managing Director at Barratt and David Wilson Homes North Midlands, said: “We’re thrilled to have secured the land for an extension to our Thoresby Vale development and will look forward to another opportunity to meet the growing demand for housing in Nottinghamshire. Our growing community in Edwinstowe will continue to provide new jobs for local people and we’ll be making further ecological and financial investments as the development progresses.”

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