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News 2008

Bargain time for property seekers
   Spain's construction industry has been severely hit by the current economic problems even though Spanish banks seem not to have fallen victim to the sub-prime mortgage problems that have hit the USA and UK so hard. Most of the properties at Vera Playa are owned by Spanish citizens and are usually their holiday homes by the sea. With the worsening economic situation there are now certainly "distress sales" where owners can no longer afford to pay the mortgages on these second homes and so some are now up for sale at prices not seen for several years.
    Despite the current record low of the pound sterling against the euro, for those with ready cash to buy there is no time like the present but, as always, the advice must be to study the whole market before deciding on a property, negotiate (it is a buyer's market), get a good independent English speaking lawyer and sign nothing and pay nothing until your lawyer can assure you there are no problems. Two estate agents who specialise in naturist zone properties are Sun-Med and Naturist Spain - both are on the spot and know the local situation well - many general estate agents who may occasionaly have a naturist property on their books know little or nothing about this unique area.
    Apart from the occasional "distress" sale it is unlikely that prices in the naturist zone will fall as much as in the general property market as there are no "off plan" sales as the whole naturist zone is now practically fully developed so only resales are available (the one exception is Natura World but this is currently mired in legal and other problems and no sales can be completed there at the present time). In nearby textile developments there does currently seem to be an off-loading of unsold new apartments by developers at very substantial reductions to prices just a few months ago - but would you want to be textile when you could be naturist? - news - 14 November 2008
Link Road opening awaits Natura World solution?
Whilst the problems besetting the completion and opening of the Natura World urbanizacion are of most and understandable concern to the unfortunate buyers of properties in that development (some of whom have now waited nearly 6 years), the remainder of the Vera Playa naturist community has an interest in the opening of the new road across its western frontage (an extension of Avenida Ciudad de Tarragona, which bisects the Parque Vera urbanizacions, to the upper end of "Hotel Street"). The new link road will join together the Vera Playa Club Hotel area and "Hotel Street" (with its bars, restaurants, shops and offices) and the main residential area of the Naturist Zone. Currently there is no vehicular or pedestrian route other than the beach or the main coast road. However, although the new road seems complete it has not, so far, been allowed to open by Vera Council. - news - 14 November 2008 More on Natura World's problems
Bye Bye Desalination Plant!
Nov 2008 - works on north section of naturist beach at Vera Playa Works are currently under way to remove the last traces of the desalination plant built by the Americans in the 1960s as part of the reparations for the 4 H-bombs which fell in the area following a collision between an American bomber and its refuelling tanker plane. It seems that sand is being dumped to fill the hole left and also to restore the beach which has been badly scoured away this year just south of the breakwater constructed in autumn 2007 (in front of Natura World) which itself was built to protect the beach near the Hotel Vera Playa Club. The latter was undoubtedly successful, but south of the breakwater there is nothing to prevent the sand being eroded and drifting southwards in the direction of Garrucha some 5 kms away. - news - 10 November 2008 (Click photo for larger version)
See our history page for the full story about the H-bombs.
Natura World: Purchasers of apartments at the naturist zone's largest development (570 units) have all sorts of problems. We understand the banks have now stepped in as the developer is in default. Vera Council will not issue certificates allowing occupation of apartments in most of the development as the developer failed to connect them up to the main sewerage system. There are issues about the quality of the water supplied to the apartments. We understand that a solution has been found for the first phase (nearest the sea) - buyers have had to pay more to get mains water and sewerage connections, but the later phases still seem to be in limbo. There is also an issue about ownership of part of the land, so the Notary will not complete any purchases, so anyone who has purchased can neither occupy their apartment nor sell it. It is understood that only quite a small percentage of the apartments have been sold, but some of these prospective purchasers have been waiting for their apartments for more than 5 years now and have paid substantial sums to the developers in deposits and stage payments. The new road serving Natura World's main entrance and which will connect "Hotel Street" to Parque Vera and the remainder of the naturist zone appears to be completed but is still not open for either pedestrians or vehicles - it seems the Council have apparently not so far issued the necessary paperwork to allow the road to be opened. Until an independent solicitor can assure you that all the problems have been resolved Natura World would seem to be a development to leave well alone. - 9 August & 9 & 27 June & 24 Sept 2008
Latest News: Hotel Vera Playa Club "NOT for sale"
Following our report on 23 April that the Senator-Playa Hotels Group which owns Spain's only naturist hotel, the Vera Playa Club Hotel, appeared (according to various hotel brokerage websites) to be up for sale, Sr. Daniel Rossell, Business Manager of Playa Senator, has contacted us to say "it is not true that the hotel is going to change of owner and, of course Vera Playa Hotel will remain being a naturist hotel". This is good news for the naturist zone as a change of ownership could well have seen a change in the style of the hotel from naturist to textile.    The Playa Senator Group clearly took a risk when they built the first naturist hotel and it has been generally understood that it has been difficult to get the very high levels of occupancy that a large hotel group requires but nevertheless the company has persisted with the concept and has steadily improved the hotel to its present 4 star standard and it has accommodated many thousands of naturists, many of them new to naturism, over the nearly 20 years it has been in operation.
    We have invited Sr. Rossell to send us a statement for this website when he has had a chance to investigate the websites which are claiming to be offering his hotel group for sale - we would like to make it clear that we only carried this as a news item when we had seen a number of such brokerage websites offering the group and we are well aware that there is much inaccurate and malicious material floating around on the world wide web. - news - 25 April 2008
Airline drops Almeria route for winter 2008/9
Travellers to Vera Playa from the Midlands region of the UK in winter 2008/9 will be forced either to travel via one of London's airports (Stansted or Gatwick) or to fly to Alicante or Murcia airports (from Birmingham, Coventry or East Midlands) as FlyMonarch the budget airline which flys from Birmingham to Almeria will not be doing so after 1 November 2008. ThomsonFly flights from Coventry to Alicante will be reduced from 5 to 4 days per week this coming winter (used to be 7 days per weekly). Are these signs of the airlines anticipating effects of the credit crunch and/or the rising value of the Euro on people's propensity to take holidays abroad? Fortunately there are still lots of options to and from Alicante & Murcia from Midlands' airports and Murcia is now much closer in time terms to Vera Playa via the new toll motorway (AP-7). On the plus side fare prices this summer seem to be being slashed.. - news - 24 April 2008
Naturist Camp Site to close on 5 May & be redeveloped as textile apartments?
See posting by Stan on our Forum (23 April 2008)
Sol y Luna cafe/restaurant/bar closes
We understand the closure is due to financial difficulties. Given that this is the largest bar restaurant actually on or next to the naturist beach and that it is the location for a number of naturist events, especially the Sunday boules competitions, this closure is obviously a significant loss to the naturist zone. It is not yet known if or when Sol y Luna will reopen under a different tenant/management. The boules competition will take place this Sunday and drinks/catering are being arranged by the boules club. - news - 12 April 2008
More demolitions - to make way for High Speed Rail line
UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph today (2 Feb) carries a report that a British couple who live near Turre, not far from Vera Playa, are to lose their £450,000 4 bedroom villa which is to be demolished to make way for the new AVE rail line to Almeria. According to the newspaper's report, Turre Council knew the route of the railway line when permission was granted to build the house which was completed in 2003 and its owners, Richard & Wendy Kaleta, may only get compensation for the value of the land, which was sold to them by estate agent and ex-mayor of Turre, Arturo Grima. The newspaper says that the homes of 3 other British couples also face demolition. - news - 1 February 2008
Editor's comment: The good news about the new high speed rail line is that it is to have a station at Vera Playa (allegedly due to the influence of Sr. Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister, who has bought a holiday home which fronts onto the naturist beach) and it will be the only beach resort to have an AVE station. The station is to be located near to the Repsol petrol station and new Mercadona supermarket on the Vera-Garrucha road. The line will come from Lorca and sweep to the east of Vera town, to the station and then across towards Turre and onwards towards Alfaix in the valley where the E15 motorway goes towards Almeria city. The bad news is that it is not clear yet how many properties will have to be demolished to make way for the new line, but my understanding is that the route has only recently been determined and it does traverse an area where development has taken place in the past decade so a number of properties could be affected. The new line will make a trip to Madrid and other places a doddle (approx. 2hrs 30m compared to 5hrs drive) and properties at Vera Playa are likely to become even more in demand from Madrilenos - the downside being that the whole area may well become one big urban area - the local councils aspire to the Levante area of Almeria becoming bigger than Madrid in the next 20 years - if they are right there will have to be separate sittings on the naturist beach to give everyone an equal tanning time!
Nightmare for buyers at Natura World
At last some light is beginning to be shed upon the mystery of affairs at Natura World, the largest naturist urbanizacion at Vera Playa, with 495 apartments and 75 apart-hotel bedrooms. Because of doubts over land ownership and problems with water supply and sewage disposal, buyers of apartments there cannot occupy them or complete their purchases despite waiting up to 5 years for their apartments to be built. More - news - 1, 3 , 4 & 7 January 2008
Latest news: A meeting between Vera's Mayor, water company Codeur and the Natura World developer Angel Fernandez seems to have agreed a formula by which the 135 apartments in phase 1 can be supplied with mains water - but it looks as if individual owners may have to pay most of the extra cost of this at least initially because the developer claims he can't afford it. So far no news on any deal for the remaining 360 apartments or on whether the legal problems about land ownership or sewage disposal have been solved. (1 Feb 2008)
Editor's comment: These problems at Natura World seem utterly bizarre - what sort of developer doesn't plan for mains water and sewerage and doesn't make sure they own the land they are developing? Thankfully no such problems exist in any of the other 11 naturist urbanizacions at Vera Playa (I think!).
See also our developments page. Also, scroll down or click here for previous news item.
If you have any more information on the Natura World situation please send it to us - click here
If you are buying an apartment at Natura World please contact us - click here
Demo against Demolitions
   On Sunday morning (27 January) there is to be a demonstration in Vera town centre (in the square next to the Town Hall & Church at midday) against the demolition of houses in the countryside near Vera. One house belonging to a retired British couple (Len & Helen Prior) has already been demolished this month and seven others in the same neighbourhood are under threat of imminent demolition. The owners of these houses appear to be the innocent victims of a dispute between the Vera Town Council, which granted planning/building permissions, and the Andalucian regional government which ruled that Vera Council must not do so as the land was not to be developed.    These present cases are only the tip of an iceberg, with around 1,200 houses threatened with demolition in the Almanzora valley, not far from Vera Playa and around 2,000 in total in the province of Almeria. Many people from the naturist zone will be participating in and supporting the demonstration and the main social event of the week - the Sunday Boules Competition - will this week be cancelled so everyone can go to Vera to demonstrate. - news - 23 January 2008

Footnote: We understand around 1,000 people joined the demonstration, which was featured on UK TV (GMTV). It was rumoured that this week's episode of Sir Trevor McDonald's current affairs programme on ITV1 was to be about the demolitions. It was billed in some TV listings magazine as about the threat to UK ex-pats living in Spain from foreign (East European) burglar gangs (who have been using extreme tactics including gassing occupants of houses they burgle). In the event neither topic was screened on Monday 28 January but maybe one or both will be shown later? - news - 29 January 2008
Nightmare for British retired couple
Not naturist zone, but distressing to everyone interested in the Vera area:
   The Andalucian government last week (9 January) demolished the home of a British couple, Len & Helen Prior, on the grounds that it was built illegally. It appears that the owners had all the correct planning and building permissions from Vera Council but the site was one which the Andalucian government had ruled should not be built on - unfortunately for the British owners, they did not know there was a dispute between the local council and the regional government. It is said that there are another 7 houses in the same neighbourhood which are also to be demolished. The site is in the campo (countryside) at La Loma an area about 2 kms south of Vera town, to the left of the main road from Vera to the ITV station and the motorway to Almeria.
   This house was built on land classified as rural or "rustic" NOT urban land, which is classified for development. Land at Vera Playa in the naturist zone and adjoining is classified as urban land and therefore such a situation should not arise. Practically all properties in the Vera Playa naturist zone are in urbanizacions (developments or complexes) developed by major developers/promoters.   However, there are problems at the largest naturist urbanizacion (Natura World) - see news story below. There is said to be 100,000 illegal properties in the whole of Spain, 2,000 of these are in Almeria Province and 1,200 are said to be in the Almanzora Valley and Levante area, close to Vera. It seems unlikely that all illegal properties will be demolished but nothing is sure yet.
    Advice to prospective purchasers, is - as always - to ensure you have a good solicitor independent of the sellers of the property and, now, to ensure that all permissions are stamped showing approval by the Provincial and Regional (Almerian & Andalucian) governments as well as the local council. Belt & braces caution now should include ensuring your solicitor checks out that land claimed to be classified as urban is actually recognised as such by the Andalucian government as well as the local council - better safe than sorry!
Follow these links to read more about the demolished house story - 1 , 2 , 3 - news - 18 January 2008
Natura World problems - more revelations:
At last some light is beginning to be shed upon the mystery of affairs at Natura World, the largest naturist urbanizacion at Vera Playa, with 495 apartments and 75 apart-hotel bedrooms. Aspirant owners who paid deposits as far back as 2003 are yet to get legal ownership of their apartments as the developers are apparently not able to demonstrate to the Notary that they own the land. Some apartment buyers, who had moved in during 2007, have now been forced to move out again as the water supply has been judged by the local Council to be a public health hazard and the apartments as not legally habitable - rather than connecting the development to the mains water supply the developers had, incredibly, sunk a well - and this in an area which was ex-salt flats and immediately next to the sea. And instead of connecting the urbanizacion's sewerage system to the mains sewer network, it ended directly in a 'black well' located in the urbanización. From time to time this has been emptied by pumping into tanker trucks. As this was done in the days no owners were present, it took time before buyers/owners were aware of the situation. It is understood that connecting Natura World to the water and sewerage mains networks will cost around €300.000 and the developers are either unable or unwilling to pay.
    And to cap it all, the developers, in order to sell the apartments, have been failing to tell prospective purchasers that it is a naturist urbanizacion and last summer they were also letting to non-naturists, saying only that it was "clothes-optional" - this led to to some confontations between naturist owners and textiles refusing to strip off to use the pools. Clearly there are fears of apartment owners that this urbanizacion could go the way of Playa de Baria 1 and Vera Mar 6, both of which were intended to be naturist and were redesignated as textile (the former when half the apartments had been sold as naturist, the latter before marketing had begun).    The extent of lettings to textiles and even ownership of apartments by textiles at Parque Vera, Bahia de Vera and Torrema Natura is also challenging their naturist credentials and is facilitating crime and vandalism. It is unclear why non-naturists would wish to live in a naturist development, but what is clear is that it is happening!
   Natura World has been something of a mystery since the first consortium collapsed when, it is understood, it was discovered that it did not own the land even though construction had started. This was back in 2002. Most Spanish developers build their developments expeditiously, collect the money from the buyers and then move on to the next development. For a long period Natura World seemed to proceed at snail's pace and was the only development at Vera Playa to eschew the use of copious numbers of large tower cranes. The apartment blocks nearest the sea appeared to be completed in 2006 and by the end of 2007 the development appears to be perhaps 80% completed, the largest section yet to be finished seems to be the Apart-Hotel and Commercial Centre which it is said is due for completion in 2009.
    Apparently the promoters claim to have sold 80% of the 495 apartments - if this is so it is surprising that there has not been a seething cauldron of discontent about the situation at Natura World - purchasers have had to wait up to 4 years for their apartments to be built (compared with a norm of around 1 year) and now having paid over the majority of the purchase price they are unable to get legal completion of their purchases. Somehow the developers seem to have kept the lid on this and it is only now that the situation has come into the public domain. So far the Spanish media, either local or national, print or broadcast, do not seem to have latched on to this story but this is what is necessary if the promoters are to be put under enough pressure to force them to sort out this mess. It seems that up until recently individual owners may have been reluctant to go public lest their position vis a vis the promoters should be worsened, but now dissatisfied owners have begun to group together to take court action against the developers of Natura World in an effort to get these problems resolved and to get legal title to their apartments. - news - 1, 3 , 4 & 7 January 2008
See also our developments page
If you have any more information on the Natura World situation please send it to us - click here
If you are buying an apartment at Natura World please contact us - click here © 2008

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