Brits power “Armona Action” in a bid to save 140 island homes

The fight is on. Britons Paul Roseby and James Tod are not taking the demolition order on their ‘dream island home’ without trying every possible line of attack.

They are convening a peaceful public protest outside Olhão town hall for 10am on August 17, and they’ve got some ‘heavy artillery’ under their belts.

They know, for example, that all it takes to save their home – and 139 others – is ministerial backing of the council requalification and intervention plan, or PIR.

Olhão mayor António Pina is working on getting that backing as we write.

But ‘theatrical power couple’ Roseby and Tod have more ammunition. They’ve dug up an old report by the agency boss currently pushing for demolition, showing that only seven years ago he believed the houses on Armona were being “helped by the anthropic presence”.

In simpler words, the homes on Armona are saving the dunes from sliding into the water.

It’s not an argument Sebastião Teixeira, director of Portuguese environment agency uses anymore – indeed he has spent the last few years saying the islands’ only chance of survival is to see homes bulldozed – but it’s a different perspective which Roseby and Tod mean to highlight.

They are also keen to stress the statement made by television crews when their issue first hit the nation’s headlines, that Pina “considers APA’s demolition order to be a personal attack by those responsible for the Algarve (ie APA) and links the case to the demolition process going ahead on other barrier islands”.

In other words – and as Pina confirmed to us this week – Roseby and Tod have simply been “caught in the crossfire” of the acrimonious battle “between Sebastião Teixeira and Olhão Council”.

A case perhaps of being ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ but one that could end up being “very expensive” for the council if Roseby and Tod end up losing their home, as it will mean the council effectively duped them into their huge investment (over €600,000 so far, plus over €50,000 on legal fees) and will be liable for compensation.

Multiply that by 139 other homes which would consequently face the wrecking ball, and we’re talking millions.

Pina has stressed nonetheless that he is “in contact with the minister (João Pedro Matos Fernandes) to get a definitive solution for Armona”, and that Matos Fernandes “has already given instructions that (Roseby and Tod’s) house will not be demolished in the interim.

Thus, the pressure is on in a week when the British duo have harnessed the might of the Times newspaper group to start highlighting their case as a warning to others considering investment in Portugal.

Sending out a leaflet on their demo, sub-titled “Real Lives and real homes – Act now before it’s too late”, Roseby and Tod hope for as much support as possible on August 17.

For the background to this story, click here

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