A British couple living in Spain will see their dream home demolished to make way for a high-speed rail link.
Richard and Wendy Kaleta were given permission in 2002 to build their £450,000 home in Turre, on the Costa Almeria, despite the proposal four months earlier of a rail link on the land they had bought.
Now they and three other British couples have been told their properties will be demolished, with no compensation being offered for their buildings. Their new four-bedroom villa, set in two and a half acres of landscaped gardens, was completed in Jan 2003.
According to papers lodged at the local planning office, the proposed route of the AVE high-speed link was made public in Dec 2001, four months before the Kaletas were given permission to build. The project was approved last autumn and it wasn't until late last year that the Kaletas learned of the plans.
The couple feel they were let down when they bought the land from a former mayor of the town, Arturo Grima, who denies any wrongdoing. He sold twelve plots of land to British buyers and helped them apply for building licences, recommending solicitors to oversee the projects.
Mr Grima said: "I have done nothing dishonest. It is wrong to suggest that I knew about the AVE and didn't tell these families. I have done a lot to help these people and they know I am honest."
Four houses in the rural development on the outskirts of Turre will be demolished to make way for the project. The remaining residents will find themselves living in close proximity to tracks where trains will travel at speeds in excess of 155mph.