Things to do with a Field

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Looking down at the bridge from up here I feel like a resistance fighter. Far from interrupting the view, the bridge and its barely audible traffic of cattle trucks, bikes and old cars, acts as a foil, setting it off. I’d be happy looking at that all day from my house. Of course, there is no house, but as Manolo and Molino point out, all that’s needed is a well, sewerage, electricity, the building . . .  because there is already a road up this mountain, and a flat spot here like a perch. And the plot is so big, sloping all the way down to the foot by the bridge itself, that the chances are, ojalá, building would be permitted.

But I don’t know. Trying to think through the gazillion steps involved in turning this stony olive field into a home is exhausting. (Even climbing up to it is exhausting.) Someone will build here and maybe add an infinity pool. Good luck to them. Slithering back down to the waiting car, I quote Donald Rumsfeld to a baffled Molino: ‘There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.’ I don’t know if Donald really thought through what he was saying, but it’s spot on.

For me, there are too many known unknowns and I suspect an infinite number of unknown unknowns involved in this ‘project’.

Still, I do know a small bit about tackling the known unknowns. Start by inspecting the title deeds or escritura; the land registry document – the nota simple, held at the local town hall or registro; and also the land records at the catastro. All should match up. Anyone seriously interested in buying land should use an independent lawyer to scrutinise the paperwork.

An independent architect should be brought onboard to check the planning regulations and provision of services, or lack of, for the land before you buy. And it is well worth having the architect produce as detailed a pre-plan as possible, and discussing it at the local town hall before making full payment and going beyond the point of no return. Because in order to get a building permit on suelo rustico it is necessary to gather together a crack team and a lot of paperwork, including a Proyecto de Actividad (explaining what the land will be used for), topographical, geological, and environmental studies; a comprehensive planning application drawn up by the architect and stamped by everyone, and to have it all approved by a number of bodies which generally include multiple departments of the Junta de Andalucia, such as MOPU Ministerio de Obras Públicas, Consejería de Obras Publicas y Transportes, Delegación Provincial – Servicio de Ordenación del Territorio y Urbanismo, Confederación Hidrográfica Del Sur- Departamento De Residuos Líquidos, Delegación de Medio Ambiente . . . and so on.

Nothing is guaranteed. But then I guess that is better than building and then being told some years later to un-build. I wouldn’t be too influenced by the old adage ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. That’s all I’m saying.

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