Spain: British expat questions enforcement of Covid passes
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Up to 200 homeowners have been left without fresh drinking water or electricity in the Spanish region of Murcia. The group of mostly British expats, many of whom are pensioners, must rely on a supply of agricultural water that is not fit for human consumption. The dire situation comes after a developer building the urbanisation where the Britons bought their homes vanished during construction.
Many of the expats have been pleading with the local Town Hall to resolve the situation for the last 20 years but have made little progress.
Linda House, 73, from Essex, discussed what it is like living without a fresh supply of water to her home, and having to rely on the water that local farmers use to water their crops.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “Sometimes it is smelly, sometimes it is discoloured.
“It is not water that I am happy showering in and washing my hair in.”
Linda has lived in the area of Gea y Truyols since 2003 when she bought her home with her late husband Vic.
She and her neighbours have been petitioning the Town to resolve their housing situation, including their lack of basic utilities.
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The expats want some form of legal recognition for their properties, which many of them have lived in for two decades.
The homeowners bought their properties in good faith, but it later transpired that the houses had been built without planning permission and the land the homes are built on had not been segregated into individual plots.
This means the houses are technically illegal and cannot be connected to the water and electricity mains, according to Gerardo Vasquez.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the local Spanish lawyer, who is aware of the expats’ situation, explained why they remain barred from water and electricity.
He said: “To get access to utilities you need what’s called a First Occupational License, which is a document given by the Administration to say the house has been built with planning permission, what has been built is in accordance with the planning permission, it’s got the services.
“Therefore, it can be used, and you can connect to services like electricity and water, but those houses don’t seem to have that.
“What they have is an undivided share, so they have a share of a big piece of land, so that is what they can sell.”
Linda, who used to work as a personal assistant in the UK, explained some of the ways she and her neighbours had tried to deal with their water issues.
She said: “There is absolutely nothing you could do with our agricultural water that would make it okay for consumption.
“You can’t do anything with it. People have had filters and osmosis systems put in and still it is no good.”
One of Linda’s neighbours who has installed filters at his home is 71-year-old Keith Willis from Windsor.
The pensioner, who lives with partner Pat, spoke to Express.co.uk about what his priorities are in his current situation.
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He said: “Getting fresh water that we can actually drink or cook with because the water now being agricultural water, you can’t do much with it at all really.
“It comes out of the taps brown most of the time. So, fresh water will be the main thing.”
He added: “The water’s the worst thing, but then we just buy our water from the supermarkets in bottles and cook with that and use it for making coffee.
“We wash up and have showers in the agricultural water.”
Another Briton who is also without water at his home in the area is Tony Malpass, 60, from the Midlands.
The security analyst, who bought his property 15 years ago, said he is also unable to drink his tap water.
He told Express.co.uk: “You cannot drink it. Apparently, there are things like arsenic in it and heavy metals and all sorts of crap.
“And the main filters that people have – if they have a tank in a pump room – are essentially sand.
“So, you are just filtering it through sand and sand is not going to filter out all the chemicals and stuff.
“We shower in it, but you would not want to swallow a mouthful of it.”
Murcia Town Hall has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
A Foreign Office spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We are in contact with the local authorities and British residents in the area.”
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