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Property owners seek compensation over illegal Spanish apartments

Owners of property at the illegally built Sun Village development of 40 flats with communal gardens and a pool in Palau-saverdera, on the Costa Brava have six months to comply with a demolition order.

Catalonia's High Court ruled in 2006 that the property development was illegal but owners and the local town hall have spent years trying to prevent demolition.

Their efforts have now failed and the Mayor has started proceedings to demolish the buildings. Owners want compensation and are demanding €310,000 each.

The saga began 2001, when Mayor Narcís Deusedas approved the development of the private apartments on land zoned for public facilities.

There was planning permission for a hotel but when building started and locals realised what was going on, a campaign began to have the development knocked down. The buildings were also higher than allowed in the planning licence.

Only two of the apartments are occupied all year round. The rest are second homes or rented out during the holiday season.

One 62 year old owner said he has nowhere else to go. 'I don't know what will become of us. Knock it down if they must, but we should be compensated,' he said.

'The Mayor is to blame. He gave the licence and when the problems started he promised that he would legalise the situation,' said another.

The Mayor has said that the town council cannot afford such a high level of compensation. But he has agreed to engage a lawyer to discuss the issue with the property owners.