Building a kitchen extension without a building license may get you a fine and a headache on managing all the paperwork that entails, but to build a property or any installation in a protected green area in Spain could imply that you have gone too far.
Everyone is aware that there are thousands of illegal properties in Spain and perhaps millions of home extension or swimming pool that have been built without the correspondent building license but building on green public land is asking for problem. Is like when you ask a waiter for a drink without out saying please. If you do it in Spain you may get your drink, if you do it in UK you are asking for trouble.
To commit a planning offence in an urban area or in a land with planning permission could cause a fine not the same if that irregularity takes place in a protected area.
The Service of Protection of Nature (Seprona) of the Civil Guard of Alicante has made in the last months 31 inspections in the province to detect urban irregularities and, as a result, has brought to justice 22 people accused of crimes against the General Planning of the Territory.
Different areas different penalties
As reported in a communiqué of this police force, the ”Seprona” has also processed numerous administrative complaints, with penalties of between 300 euros and one and a half million euros.
The detected planning infractions affect the localities of Hondón de los Failes, Confrides, Benifato, Villajoyosa, Pilar de la Horadada, Callosa d'en Sarrià, Orihuela, San Vicente del Raspeig, Petrer and the city of Alicante.
For the operation intended to verify the correct compliance with the legislation that regulates the planning of the territory and urban planning, Seprona agents have made helicopter flights throughout the province, together with the Air Service of the Civil Guard.
In this way, they have carried out a total of 31 inspections for the investigation of the commission of possible crimes against the planning of the territory, as well as for the monitoring and control of activities related to urban planning.
Through these inspections, it has been verified the adequacy of the building and land use acts to the applicable urban and territorial regulations, and it has been verified the existence of a series of buildings or constructions that, "due to their current situation and external appearance, seemed recent and not legalized.
After a detailed analysis of the casuistry of each of the different irregularities found, it has been verified that these buildings were located on land classified as Protected Land without Planning Permission areas of the “Natura 2000 Network”, specifically (LIC) “Lugares de Importancia Comunitaria” Important Community Sites and Special Protection Areas for Birds “Zonas de Especial Protección para las Ave” (ZEPA). These two area are the sacrosanct areas in Spain that you must be extremely carefully not to build anything on, and if you do you must go through an extremely complicated process that more often than not planning applications are rejected after months and months of sending and receiving loads of paperwork.
22 people who are not sleeping these days
Well, here in Alicante, as a result of those irregularities, a total of 22 persons have been brought before the courts, as alleged perpetrators of crimes against the planning of the territory and urban planning, and, in addition, numerous administrative complaints have been lodge to the laws of Territory Planning, Urbanism and Landscape, of Livestock and Waterways. So that if the offender did not have enough these legal bodies my also initiate court processes against the lawbreaker.
The sanctions for these grievances range from 300 to 3,000 euros, if the infraction is minor, from 3,001 to 30,000 euros, if the infraction is serious, and from 30,001 to one and a half million euros, if this is considered very serious.
At the same time, the competent authority requested to initiate proceedings for reinstatement of the urban legality and restoration of the infringed legal order and physical reality altered or transformed as a result of the illegal proceedings. Meaning… that you have to restore the land as it was before you built anything and that means planting any trees that you may have removed, restored earth movement etc
The Seprona reminds citizens that, before making any purchase, work or construction, they should be properly advised on aspects such as the existing planning of the land on which they are prepared to build and on the building license and permitted uses on that land.
All that information can be obtained by a simple visit to your local town hall planning department.
In addition to the possibility of incurring in administrative infractions, what is worst apart from costing you money, lots of money "one may also be committing crimes punishable with prison terms of one year and six months to four years, as well as having to demolish the building by a judicial decree."
Not a joke by any means.