The ‘Illegal Houses’ of Chiclana

8 Nov

There is a town in Cádiz in which half of its nearly 80,000 inhabitants live in illegal homes: and the Housing Councillor resides in one of them. The city is Chiclana and it is trapped in a legal limbo. The Town Plans have had to return to an urban 1987 standard because the courts annulled all subsequent General Plans and thus Chiclana can’t legally sign any new licenses of occupation. Marisol Ayala, the councillor of urban planning, came to the Town Hall from a small local party that represents stressed owners of ‘illegal homes’ and whose program called for amnesty for these buildings, reductions in the fines and the legalization of these properties at the minimum cost.
Ayala, born in Villambistia (Burgos), settled in Chiclana a decade ago. She came with her husband and son and bought a house in an urbanisation built on land that was listed as ‘non-urbanisable’. Although her home is no longer subject to any sanctions, having been prescribed, there remains a myriad of problems. It has no running water, sewage or electricity. Like this one, there are another 15,000 homes in Chiclana.
But Ayala has failed those neighbours who voted for her, according to Joaquín González, the current spokesman for Ayala’s PVRE independent party tied to the ruling PP. ‘Since the elections, she hasn’t met with us a single time and hasn’t proposed a single investment for our streets’, he says. ‘We are as before or worse,’ he adds. And repeating the speech once made by the now councillor of urbanismo, he says: ‘We are second-class neighbors when it comes to receive services, but first-class when the IBI (rates) are collected’. He feels that Ayala, a toothless wolf in charge of the urban sheep, has forgotten her voters, in this legal limbo called Chiclana.

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