A RETIRED Bolton couple are locked in a legal battle to prevent their £250,000 home in Spain from being bulldozed.

Spanish authorities have told John and Patricia Kirkman they were withdrawing the building licence on their house in Alcaucin, Andalucia, which the couple bought 10 years ago.

The couple, from Lostock, wintering at their three-bedroom Spanish retreat, have now joined with residents of 12 other neighbouring houses in the complex who have engaged a lawyer at a cost of £36,000 to fight the decision forced by the Junta de Andalucia.

Former Bolton wholesale market fruit and potato trader Mr Kirkman, aged 73, said all the properties were given building licences when they were completed in 2004.

“But the builder who constructed the complex of properties never got the required certificate of habitation,” said Mr Kirkman.

“For 10 years we have been wondering when he is going to get it and why he hasn’t got it.

“We could now finish up with our home being bulldozed, although we are hoping it doesn’t come to that.

“The current town hall administration has told us they have no choice but to vote in favour of revoking the planning permission, which was granted to the builder by an earlier administration, apparently, without due process.

“We have been told there is evidence the Junta de Andalusia is particularly active in issuing instructions to revoke licences in town halls of a different political persuasion to itself.

“This is particularly sinister if the victims are being used as pawns in a political power play.”

Mr Kirkman said he and his wife’s plight is a warning to anyone in the UK dreaming of retiring to the Spanish sun.

He added: “People don’t realise there are up to one million homes in Spain in danger of being demolished.

“Anyone based in the UK agreeing to buy a property in the Spain thinking it will be okay could be making a big mistake. It could be the start of an absolute nightmare.”

The Foreign Office said the UK could not get involved in individual disputes and urged British people affected to go through the “appropriate local courts”.