Legal limbo of the Hill Site
In January 2021, a negative assessment was submitted to the Lagos district court, referring to the public deed signed in 2011, where it was declared that the present owners were the legitimate owners of a plot of land with an area of 1,815 m2. at Rua do Parque, Parque da Praia, parish of Luz, municipality of Lagos, which was not registered at the Conservatória do Registo Predial de Lagos.
They declared that they had been in possession of this property for more than thirty years, due to having received it by donation, from previous owners, both of whom have already died;
That this donation was purely verbal and was never formalized by deed, which is why they do not have any title that allows them to carry out the respective registration of the acquisition of that property in their favor at the Conservatória do Registo Predial;
That, regardless of the mode of acquisition, they had been uninterruptedly in possession and enjoyment of the property as its sole and exclusive owners, namely using it as the backyard of their dwelling house and paying the respective taxes, having proceeded to the fencing of the plot of land.
That this possession in their own name, peaceful, continuous and public, which has lasted continuously for about thirty years, led to the acquisition of the property by “usucapião”, which by the aforementioned deed they invoked, thus justifying their property right for the purposes of the first registration in the land registry, due to the fact that they do not have any extrajudicial title that proves the acquisition;
Also declaring that they have always paid for all the conservation works carried out on the property, their respective licenses and all taxes relating to the building.
However, as will be seen below, these statements do not correspond to the truth and, despite this falsehood, in 2020, they sold, by public deed, to a real estate firm, the aforementioned property.
Furthermore, this property is encumbered with a building easement under which the height of the existing building must never be increased and no building or construction of any kind whatsoever can be made or placed less than 5 meters from the entrance and cannot be higher in height than 3.5 meters;
History of the Hill Site
Between the years 1958 and 1962, Horace Roye Narbeth (a famous photographer in the United Kingdom, publicly known as Horace Roye) acquired a vast expanse of territory, composed of rustic and urban buildings, in the parish of Luz, municipality of Lagos, which later would later sell to several buyers.
In 1992, a landowner drafted, in the state of widow, in a notary’s office, a will for which she left as legacy the corresponding to a total area of 2,453 m2:
Subtracting the area corresponding to the legacies (2,453 m2) from the total area contained in the topographic survey dated 1992 (4,404.00 m2), 1951 m2 remain, an area corresponding to that identified in the 1992 topographic survey as Hill Site (or “Colina”).
Until the date of her death in 2000, this owner resided and behaved as the sole and legitimate owner of the Casa do Jardim and adjacent Hill Site;
Following the death, the entities, knowingly aware of the content of the will draw up by the owner, occupied the area that was bequeathed to them.
In 2011, they were granted a notary justification deed declaring themselves owners and legitimate owners, in their own name, in a peaceful, continuous, public and uninterrupted manner for about thirty years, of a parcel of land with an area of 1,815 m2, omitted at the Conservatório do Registo Predial de Lagos.
Such property corresponds roughly to the famous surplus area of the Hill Site,
The property was occupied by the new owners, at most, after the death of the previous owner, which only occurred in 2000.
Therefore, the statements made in both notarial justification deeds are thus false, and the facts invoked therein are equally false.
It should be noted that the current owner has never exercised any type of possession regarding the land referred to above. Especially because it has an abandoned aspect (as has been the practice since always, remember that the same land has always been used as a backyard and a clearing with abundant vegetation without any indication of treatment or even occupation).
Therefore, there is no practice of material acts on the property, only and only its subsequent transmission.
It was been requested to proceed with the impugnation of the deed of justification of the property, which constitutes the sale of something belonging to another and the subsequent sale of the same property, as this was not concluded by whoever owned the property over the transmitted building, so the legal transactions concluded are null and void and the nullity now invoked must be recognized and declared by the Court.
On the 7th of June, 2020, with barely a soul being informed, the Lagos Câmara approved a massive construction project, right in the heart of Praia da Luz.
The local residents have been trying for months to consult on this project but have been repeatedly refused access to it, with Covid-19 being cited as the reason. Clearly, in spite of this, the planning process went ahead without reference to the community or the impact this might have.
The Colina São Estevão is a long standing and much loved landmark and is one of the few areas left in Luz which has not been concreted over. It was privately bought in 1971 specifically with the intention of protecting it
.The current owner, whose actual title to the land is questionable to say the least, is planning to completely raze the Hill and build in its place a massive concrete block, 4 storeys (20m) high containing seven 3/4 bedroom units. The structure will tower over Luz Beach and the surrounding neighbourhood and will be visible from everywhere in Luz that has views towards the sea.
Those who are lucky enough not to be overlooked directly by it will have their ocean views and sunsets blocked or corrupted by this monumental structure. The construction process will clearly be lengthy and involve several years of giant trucks driving through Luz, with noise, dust, cranes and excavators working right next to the beach, and the inevitable spate of opportunist thefts that always emanate from massive building sites, particularly when there are so many properties empty in the off season. What will remain afterwards will impose itself on the entire beach and village as an ugly and carbuncular monument to greed and selfishness.
As this area of Luz has no municipal rainwater system, the large area being sealed by the building will produce torrents of runoff into the Parque da Praia private road and adjacent gardens adding to the regular floods we already have. We will regularly post photos, updates, information and details of how the community can help us stop this forever destroying the special character of Luz, and have the Colina designated permanently as an Ecological Reserve, as the owners intended.Please like and follow this page, send us your comments and keep an eye out for events, petitions and other activities you can join in.- From the Parque da Praia Residents Association.
1 thought on “Colina São Estevão, Praia da Luz”
I first visited Colina Sao Etavao in the company of a local geologist on my arrival as a permanent resident to Luz in 1999. This followed my earlier concern, aroused by a Mail on Sunday article raising the possibility that Vigia Group were planning to convert the unspoilt wetland surrounding Boca do Rio into a vast holiday resort area. Fortunately, I met an ally in the form of an ex-Reuters local magazine publisher, who’s exposure of the Vigia plans led ultimately to there being abandoned.
Moving forward to the present, it was with horror that I discovered the plans to desecrate Colina Sao Estavao and, also Cerina do Caracol having, fortunately attended one of the Lagos Camara meetings in the company of many of the long-term Luz residents.
I sincerely hope that a timely intervention now will confine the appalling developer’s plans to the dust bin.