Stubborn shepherd kills off luxury golf courses

An illiterate shepherd from a small town in southern Spain has stopped a giant building project from going ahead after a ten-year-long legal battle to protect his land.

Stubborn shepherd kills off luxury golf courses
"I've never studied, I can't read or write, but no one will fool me," says 60-year-old shepherd Pascual Carrión. Photo:Buscavientos/Flickr

Sixty-year-old Pascual Carrión will finally be able to live in peace after Jumilla Town Hall closed the appeal window for a building project which, if approved, would have cost him his 30-hectares of land.

"I've not won anything, apart from peace of mind," Carrión told Spanish daily El Confidencial.

"I'm left with my land and the heart problems that have arisen from all the stress.”

Carrión first became aware of the plans to build a 15,000 home residential complex around two brand-new golf courses when electricity company Iberdrola inexplicably put up a high-tension power line through his land in 2002.

"I knew there was something going on behind the scenes even then," he told El Confidencial.

The elderly shepherd’s complaints about the five high-voltage towers erected on his property fell on deaf ears.

Iberdrola, which had the support of Francisco Abellan -Jumilla's socialist mayor at the time – had actually diverted the electricity line so that it wouldn't pass through the planned gold courses.

Soon building contractors for the Santa Ana del Monte Jumilla-Golf complex were offering Carrión €2.6 million ($3.5 million) for his land.

Iberdrola also attempted to buy the farmer's silence by offering him €30,000 to turn a blind eye to the high tension towers.

The shepherd was having none of it though, having already witnessed how his neighbours were waiting in vain for the millions they were owed for the properties they'd sold.

He turned instead to the courts, spending more than €30,000 of his own money to take the matter before a judge with the official technical reports at hand.

Murcia's High Court ruled against Carrión, alleging that San José Inversiones' giant building project should prevail because the town’s general interests mattered more than his as an individual.

Carrión then took the case to Murcia's Supreme Court in 2010.

This time the judge ruled in favour of his argument that there wasn't enough water in Jumilla to supply an extra 20,000 people.

"I don't even give my herd any water from the local well because it’s so saline," Carrión told El Confidencial.

In the three years since that hearing, the developer has gone into pre-bankruptcy proceedings.

The 60-year-old shepherd has witnessed how 800 people — mainly English expats, locals say — have been left waiting to find out whether their down payments in the stalled project would be repaid.

"It's embarrassing to see what’s happened to all these foreigners and how they are accusing Spaniards of being shameless when most of us are honest," Carrión argues.

He at least feels satisfied with how his ten-year-long legal battle has turned out.

"I'll die at peace having fought for what’s mine and the truth.

"I've never studied, I can't read or write, but no one will fool me."

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REVEALED: The cheapest most in-demand areas in Spain to buy a house

If you're considering making the move and buying property in Spain, but don't fancy purchasing in a rural village in the middle of nowhere, you should know where the cheapest, most in-demand parts of the country are.

REVEALED: The cheapest most in-demand areas in Spain to buy a house

If you’re thinking about relocating, Spain is a fantastic place to do it. Foreigners have been moving to Spain for decades, not only for its fantastic food and weather, along with a laid-back lifestyle, but housing is generally affordable – if you know where to look.

Though the rise in the Euribor has sent interest rates spiking, house prices in Spain are expected to flatten somewhat in 2023 and it could be a good year to find a bargain, depending on your financial situation.

Knowing what type of house you want and where in Spain you want to live is one thing, but knowing the cheapest, yet most in-demand parts of the country could really help you narrow down your search.

Fortunately, Spain’s leading property website Idealista has put together a list of the most ‘in demand’ municipalities of Spain and where you can find the most expensive and, more importantly for the house hunters among us, the cheapest municipalities of Spain to buy property.

It’s based on data from the last quarter of 2022 and is the average price of housing in towns with more than 1,300 sale announcements and costs valued at more than €1,100 per square metre. 

You can find the ten cheapest areas of Spain to buy property by average price below, but it’s worth noting that Idealista did these rankings by average price across the entire municipality, so there are likely individual towns and villages dotted around Spain where prices are significantly lower.

That said, this list gives you a good idea of the areas to look out for.

READ ALSO:  What will happen with property prices in Spain in 2023?

The 10 cheapest municipalities in Spain to buy property 

Santa Pola (Alicante) – Santa Pola, in the Alicante province, is the cheapest most in-demand municipality to buy a house, according to Idealista’s rankings. The average price for a house in Santa Pola costs just €151,796, though this may come as a surprise given its prime location in a foreign hotspot on the sought-after Costa Blanca. The main town of Santa Pola itself is a small beachfront community with a population of around 35,000. It also has a large foreign population and is a short drive or bus away from both Alicante and Elche.

Ourense (Galicia) – Next on the list is Ourense in Galicia where the average price is €154,941. The municipality is home to several towns and villages, surrounding the main medium-sized town of Ourense itself in southern Galicia. The town has a population of around 105,000 and is a little over an hour’s drive from both Santiago de Compostela and the coastal city of Pontevedra.

Oviedo (Asturias) – Third on the list is the municipality of Oviedo where you’ll pay an average of €154,968 for a property. Another area in northern Spain, the main city Oviedo itself, which is the capital of Asturias and has a population of 220,000. It sits between Cantabrian mountains and the Bay of Biscay. It’s known for its picturesque medieval old town and impressive architecture. 

Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) – Properties cost an average of €155,563 in the municipality of Jerez de la Frontera, or Jerez as it’s commonly referred to. It’s located in the Cádiz province of Andalusia and is a real piece of ‘traditional’ Spain. Jerez city is a decent-sized place with a little over 200,000 people and is known for horses, flamenco dancing and sherry, as well as the Alcázar de Jerez, an 11th-century fortress that harks back to Andalusia’s Moorish past.

READ ALSO: Is it better to buy or rent in Spain right now?

Torrevieja (Alicante) – Another municipality in Alicante and another incredibly popular with foreign homeowners. Properties here go for an average of €155,787. Torrevieja itself has a population of 82,000 and is another coastal town, but also has nature trails and salt plains nearby.

Murcia (Murcia) – Murcia is often overlooked, wedged between Alicante and Andalusia, but you could grab a bargain here with average prices of €157,119. Murcia capital is a bustling city of almost 450,000 people, and is strategically placed for trips to the Costa Blanca, Costa Calida, Costa del Sol, and Costa de Almeria.

Parla (Madrid) – The municipality of Parla lies just 20km south of Madrid and the town of the same name is home to 130,000 residents. It’s a great commuter area for those who work in Getafe or the capital. A house here costs an average of €160,652. 

Salamanca (Castilla y León) – The municipality of Salamanca surrounds the capital of Salamanca in Castilla y León in northwestern Spain. Buying a property in this area costs an average of €162,909. The main city of Salamanca is known for its university, which is the oldest in Spain and dates back to 1218. Understandably, much of Salamanca’s roughly 150,000 residents are students, which gives the town a lively atmosphere.

Burgos (Castilla y León) – Another northwestern Castilla y León municipality, is Burgos has around, where you can buy a house for just €163,164. The city of Burgos has around 180,000 inhabitants and is known for its medieval architecture and grand cathedral. 

Dos Hermanas (Sevilla) – The second most populous municipality in the province of Seville, properties cost an average of €163.274 here. The Andalusian town is just 15km south of Seville, making it great for commuters or those who want plenty of culture nearby.