PA revises its processes to allow the submission of DNs in regularised properties

The Planning Authority has announced this morning that after having been alerted by the Kamra tal-Periti, it has reviewed its process regarding Development Notifications (DNs) for properties covered by a valid regularisation.

Members of the Kamra had notified the Council back in March 2018 that the Planning Authority was not accepting DNs on properties covered by a regularisation. Periti were being advised to submit full or summary planning applications instead.

The Development Notification Order (DNO) provides a schedule of types of minor development that are automatically permitted without requiring a formal planning application. In Malta, permitted developments are classified in two categories: permitted without notification; and permitted with notification. In the latter category, the applicant is required to submit through his/her Perit a notification together with plans, photographs and payment of €60 fee to the Planning Authority so it may be notified about the works and confirm that they fall within the schedule of permitted development.

The Planning Authority had in recent years decided not to allow DNs for properties covered by an active planning permit, and directed periti to submit Minor Amendment (MA) requests instead. Although nowhere in the law does it state that properties covered by an active permit cannot also be the subject of a DN, there were little practical differences between a DN and a MA, except for the planning fee which in the latter case is €175, instead of €60.

The difficulties arose when regularisations started being approved, since the Regularisation of Existing Development Regulations did not allow for the possibility of submitting a MA, and the internal procedures of the PA also prevented periti from submitting a DN on behalf of their clients. This resulted in applicants having to go through much lengthier planning processes to seek planning approval for minor development which had already been approved and listed in the schedule of the DNO.

With the announcement made by the PA this morning, owners who wished to make a minor alteration to their property but needed to regularise it first are no longer being prejudiced by the incorrect application of the law.