Hundreds of holidaymakers visiting the Spanish Canary Island of Lanzarote could find that the Lanzarote hotels they’d booked are about to be demolished.
The Canary Island High Court has ruled that 22 hotels have been built illegally because two councils ignored restrictions put in place to limit tourist developments on the island. The authorities have revoked the building licences but have yet to make a final decision on whether the hotels will be pulled down.
Lanzarote is a popular year-round European destination because of its mild winter climate. It attracts nearly a million British visitors a year.
The laws at the centre of the dispute were passed in 2000 to try to limit the development of coastal hotels. The authorities wanted to prevent the island going the way of some Spanish mainland coasts where unhindered building has led to concrete jungles. Police are investigating whether officials in Lanzarote granted illegal licences in return for backhanders from property developers.
by Andy Moreton