The Beginning

Pondgirl & Pondboy's prospective home in the Ebro Valley

The story so far

27th December 2005

This November we decided to have a look around the Ebro Valley in southern Catalunya to see where we would like to start looking for a new home. We wanted to see what the local villages were like as well as the countryside, so we could come back on another visit to start looking for a potential house to buy. As luck would have it, we stumbled on this ruined flour Mill on the edge of a barranc (river) near the village of Mas de Barberans. The Mill is on the edge of the barranc and directly in front of the els Ports national park. Tortosa is about 12 minutes drive away.

The main building has two floors each of approximately 125 square metres as well as an attached lambing shed which has a floor area of 82 square metres. The property has around 25 acres of land. The ground behind the house is flat although it does rise up a slope at the rear border and with limestone terraces and has over 930 mature olive trees growing on it as well as some carob trees and a few almond trees near the Mill.

The Mill is in a state of disrepair and will need a lot of work to make it into a liveable home, however we have made an offer and are hoping to hear from the owners in early January. If we cannot secure the purchase of this property, we have a number of other properties that we want to look at that are in the same area.

6th January 2006

We are hoping to sign the preliminary contracts in the next ten days which means that we could complete the purchase before the middle of March.

23rd January 2006

This weekend we returned to Tortosa for a flying visit to look over the Mill in detail and to go over the contractual details with the agents we are using.
This was our first chance to look inside the building and to measure it with some accuracy. We also walked round the land looking at the boundaries and assessing the state everything was in.
The building is actually in slightly better shape than we first envisaged. The main roof timbers are still solid and a lot of the first floor looks salvegeable although there are some area's which will need replacing. The stairs are solid as are the main walls and lintels. There is however a huge amount of work to be done before it could be lived in.

On the Monday we met the Estate Agents again and they introduced us to the Mill owner. He is a typical older Catalunyan. Small, spectacled, balding and with a great sense of humour but not a word of English. After going through the pertinent details on the contracts and talking about the history of the Mill, we all signed the preliminary contracts which commit us to purchasing the property as long as they get planning permission for the renovation of the main building and the lambing shed which currently comprises of a couple of walls and a huge bramble thicket.
The planning permission should be granted in the next couple of months as members of the family are members of the local town council who have to pass the approval. Once that is granted, then we will complete the full contract and the Mill will be ours.

9th March 2006

Just received the builders quotations which are being submitted to the local council for their approval to grant planning permission to renovate the building. Wiht luck this will be granted in around 15 days. (These are likely to be Spanish days) so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to sign the final contracts when we go out to visit at the end of March. If not we will have to wait until late April.

27th March 2006

No news yet about the planning application, so it does not look likely that we will be able to finalise the purchase until the end of April. We are off out there on Thursday 30th March to take our son and inlaws round the property and to drive around the local area some more. The weather forecast is for around 77-80 F which will make a change from the 50-60 F we have had round here for the last few weeks.

8th April 2006

We have just got back from another 5 day visit to Tortosa. The weather was lovely and we managed to see a lot of the outlying areas which we had not previously visited as well as the nearby coastline.
Talking to our estate agents, we have found that the building has been registered as a listed building due to its size, age and important location, so we are having to wait while another planning authority issues the relevant building permits.

4th May 2006

We have just been told the planning application has been approved by the relevant authorities, so we should be able to complete the purchase before the end of the month. Summer has started looking sunnier.
It also appears that there are plans to widen the single lane road that runs through our property up to the Els Ports National park. The local farmers and firemen want the extra width to ease access for their lorries and fire tenders.

18th May 2006

We have just received a copy of the license premitting the renovation of the Mill. It allows us usage as a Hotel or Restaurant which is nice. The road renovations will mean that they will constuct a passing/parking space just over the Pont de Lloret (bridge) on the right side of the road. They will include a drive entrance and a small wall along our side of the road in compensation for the land they will take from our property.
We are going to have to put up a plaque saying the Mill is a building of Historic Interest, and we will have to provide access to the property.

Happy birthday Henry.

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