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Vale de Garrão residents living for six months without water now face bizarre stone barricade

As if living without water was not enough, residents locked in dispute with Loulé water authority Infralobo have discovered their ‘back access’ has suddenly been blocked off by a massive chunk of stone.

Desperate to discover who may have placed this as it constitutes all kinds of threats, homeowners went to nearby hotel Ria Park to be told that the obstacle had been placed on the orders of Infralobo themselves.

The Resident is at pains to check this, but on Saturday morning there was no response from Infralobo’s main telephone number and the emergency ‘piquete’ team said they knew nothing about it.

When we gave them the number of the house immediately affected, the man at the end of the line suddenly became increasingly disparaging, stressing only that: “If the homeowner has a complaint, he can present it at Infralobo on Monday morning”.

The issue appears to centre on the fact that householders Christine and Tony Cooke – in dispute with the water authority for months over exorbitant bed tax charges, which have since been reduced (click here) – recently had a delivery of water to replenish supplies in their swimming pool.

It is something that every householder should be able to do – without worrying about the consequences. But as Infralobo appears to be watching the Cookes as they struggle to live without water, it appears management must have thought they were filling a cisterna (water tank).

With the stone now in place, no truck could get near enough to the property to replenish any kind of supplies.

That aside, the retired couple say the stone has cut off a vital access in case of fire, or any other emergency.

Ironically, Tony Cooke, 77, only this week was able to put homeowners’ battle with Infralobo to an arbitrational judge, who is now considering the two sides’ points of view, to come to a decision within the next two weeks.

Considering the stone slab appeared immediately after Tony’s court submission, the couple and their legal representative will now be writing to the judge, to make her aware of what they see as a new attack on the Cooke’s civil liberties.

Meantime, Tony has been to the local GNR to lodge an official complaint.

“It’s simply another example of serious harassment”, he told us. “What if we needed to give emergency vehicles back access to our property? This is completely unacceptable”.

Again, with no way of contacting Infralobo – other than through the emergency number that appears unable do anything to change the situation – the Resident can only update this story with a response from the water authority part-owned by Loulé council on Monday.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com