The homes are among vast numbers of properties in southern Spain that faced the prospect of compulsory demolition after local officials ruled that they had been built with inadequate planning permission.

In many cases, construction had been approved by corrupt town hall politicians but later ruled illegal by regional planning chiefs.Now, in a major boost for British owners, many of whom had invested life savings in the properties, the Andalucian regional government has declared that more than 11,000 of them in the Axarquia region near Malaga may be legalised.

Finally, we think we're hitting the home straight, said Philip Smalley, president of residents' group Save Our Homes in Axarquia. At the moment it is just words, but our understanding is that finally the council in Andalucia will pass an amendment to legalise these houses. It is absolutely a step in the right direction.

Josefina Cruz, the head of the department for public works and housing in the Andalusian regional government, met with mayors from 14 municipalities in the Axarquia region on Friday to explain the decree, which will normalise 11,025 houses in their area.

Source: Telegraph Online