5 years ago I posted a blog seeking advice on the proposed compulsory purchase of our home in Vence.After many visits from various officials ranging from the Mairie of Vence, to representatives form Marseilles and the PACA region we were told in Jan 2014 that we we be out by March 2015 by the then ,Maire of Vence.
This is a huge project , 250 appartments ( some for social housing but mostly private),roads to be enlarged and roundabouts installed etc.
We spent all our spare time travelling around all the southern regions of France are we were not far off retirement in search of a new house but finally settled on one we really liked in Vence where we have lived for the 30 years. This only came about after a lot of harrassment by the officials involved in this. The really annoying part of this affair is that we were advised by the "big cheese" from Marseilles not to make any further improvements on our home as any further work would not be re-imbursed.
So, we cancelled at our cost, the building work we had planned before retirement. The most irritating part of this story was the callous assumption that we "were lucky" to have lived in a house in Vence centre for 25 years! No consideration to the hard work we put in renovating a ruin to a comfortable family home to bring our kids up in.
Both girls were born here and this is the only home they have known, so imagine the anxiety, tears,rage and finally acceptance that we had no choice.At my last meeting with the Maire in January I told him we had finally found a house. We gave in and accepted the outcome that we would have to move by the end of March.
Then fate took a nasty turn and he was voted out by a coalition party trying to stop this huge project! I was about to sign the comprime de vente on the new house!
I made a rdv with the new Maires ( two of them) as a precaution before signing anything to find out that they thought we were the owners of a maison secondaire and were astonished to learn that I had lived in Vence for 30 years in my only home! The other Maire asked to to point out where I lived on a map!
Surely such an enormous project, known to all in Vence escaped them? Stalling for time as they pleaded poverty and told me that the massive spending by the outgoing Maire had left the town bankrupt and with huge tracts of land, houses etc so they did'nt know how they were going to proceed!
In short, we are one off three remaining families unsold , surrounded by empty properties sold by people who had to sell quickly for one reason or another thus rendering us unsellable as everybody can look at the project on the website of the ville de Vence and see the magnitude of the project and know when the UMP get voted in in six years time they will take on where they left off.
Unfortuately, we have moved on in our heads and now want out to start afresh somewhere else but clearly this is not on their agenda and we are locked in a horrid situation where we must live here in wait for another six years where it can all start all over again except we will be a lot older( hopefully) and less energetic for a move.
We have been prisoners in velvet gloves for the past 5 years and after the political changes,appear to be dismissed as not "our responsibility". Where did "Egality, Fraternite and Libertie go to?"
So after this great rant, does anyone know of an Avocat French or other that can be recommended? Do we have any rights for the past few unpleasant years? Can we sue the Townhall for stealing five years of our lives, unsure what our fate would we be and unable to prepare for retirement? Is there any European mandate that defends home owners against such an impasse?
I moved to France because I loved this country but I am now having a sense of humour failure due to all the bureaucracy we are having to deal with. Now, we are in a very precarious situation financially and quite unsure of who to trust,
So any help and advice would be most welcome from all who read this.
Thank you all it is great to get it off my chest !