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Property Developers Caught Trying To Hide Villas In Forest

Property Developers Caught Trying To Hide Villas In Forest

Chinese property developers have already been caught building roads and then covering them in mud or secretly adding extra floors onto tower blocks to get round planning regulations - and now they have been caught building luxury villas in forests.

The country's wildfire property boom that saw illegal buildings springing up all over the country was tackled by government officials who introduced tough new rules ensuring proper building standards and enforced the rule that building only took place with planning permission.

But the process is slow and laborious, and many property developers are not prepared to wait like the builders of this estate on the outskirts of Xinguang village in Xinhe township in east China’s Shanghai municipality.

Local council planning inspector Cong Ting said: "It is perhaps not the builders' problem any more, as most of these houses have already been sold and furnished and decorated by the new owners. They will now lose everything, but they should have realised that luxury villas in the middle of a forest probably had something to hide."

In total the development covers 80 hectares and went ahead without anybody noticing until satellite TV imaging showed up the illegal development and it was reported to local planning officials. He then confirmed the housing project and slapped a demolition order on the whole thing.

Cong Ting added: "The bottom line is that designated farmland or forest land can only be built on with permission from the local council, but in this case the builders simply rented the land and then built this housing complex."

Ming Lung, who spent 400,000 GBP on his villa, said: "I couldn't believe it when I was told the whole thing was illegal. I could not believe that you can build a housing complex illegally without anybody noticing. The whole complex is really nicely done, you just wouldn't know that the whole thing was a cowboy operation."

He is now demanding compensation from the developer and wants the money paid back although the chances of success are apparently small as a builder spent most of what he earned in covering construction costs.

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