Posts

,

PR 32/19 | ODZ is a misnomer

Verżjoni bil-Malti

Just three weeks ago, the Planning Authority embarked on a ‘consultation’ process wherein it invited members of the public to comment on whether the scope of the current Rural Policy Design Guidance (RPDG 14) has had its intended effect. An effective consultation would require, as a basic premise, an understanding of the intent of those who drafted the original policy, and a thorough assessment of the actual effects of the current policy prepared by the Authority itself. In the absence of publicly available data and statistics this current consultation process is inherently flawed.

The three-week consultation period allowed makes a mockery of the term “public consultation”, especially when considering the vast implications that this policy has on our quality of life, and on the sensitivity of our natural environment. It is also unclear what this current consultation is attempting to achieve, since it appears to be more focussed on asking the public’s opinion on whether the RPDG has worked or not, and whether it should be aligned with the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) and the National Rural Development Programme, as though this were an option up for debate. It is therefore important that Phase 2 of the review process consists of the establishment of the overarching Objectives and Scope, and a consultation process undertaken on such Objectives and Scope, prior to delving into the detail of the Policy itself.

Nevertheless, a review of the RPDG (2014) is clearly urgent and needed; however, more benefit would be derived if the amended policy is aligned with an updated SPED, which is itself up for review within the next 12 months. The two processes must run in parallel, while maintaining the current premise of the SPED that the “Maltese landscape is a cultural landscape, and the surviving structures show its continued use, and are testimony of the country’s past”. A revised policy for our rural areas should base its principles on the realisation that our rural environment has an intrinsic value which exceeds its monetary worth at any one moment.

The term “Outside Development Zone” is a misnomer and should be abolished. It implies that no development activity may be carried out in such Zones, however it is a fact that legitimate development is necessary to maintain the character of our rural areas, and to accommodate uses that cannot be located within built-up areas. The construction of a rubble wall is development; the construction of a farm is development; the quarrying of rock is development; the dumping of waste is development.

Thus, rather than defining our territory in terms of “Development Zones” and “Outside Development Zones”, it is recommended to adopt two broad categories, namely Urban Areas and Rural Areas, in addition to the Coastal and Marine Areas. These should in turn be further classified to hone into more specific urban and rural typologies, allowing the formulation of more focussed policies which would recognise the distinctive characters, identities, and the activities taking place within such classifications (such as Countryside, Rural Conservation Areas, Agricultural Areas and Green Belts).

Villages and hamlets have for decades been designated as Urban Areas. This is incorrect. Villages form an integral part of rural landscape and identity. The urbanisation of rural settlements has brought about an exasperating urban sprawl, the effects of which can be witnessed through the out-of-control air pollution and exponentially problematic traffic generation.

Any type of development in the Rural Area should be of a design, quality and scale that respects the rural setting. The RPDG already requires that any “proposed development is of high quality rural design and must respect the rural context.” High quality contemporary architecture by its very nature should be responsive to its context, be it urban or rural. It would not otherwise be of high quality. Many of civilisation’s highest architectural achievements are found in natural contexts. The interplay between built and natural forms and materials provides for far more exhilarating cultural expression than false vernacular architecture. It is pertinent to point out that vernacular buildings were built at a time when rural construction was crafted by artisans making best use of locally available materials and tools to address the most basic needs of shelter and utility. They are indeed an important part of our cultural heritage and are best respected by not being mocked or falsified.

Furthermore, the Maltese Islands are in dire need of a Landscape Strategy for the Rural Area, which is site specific and which is studied to the extent that it takes a holistic view of this important asset which our country has, rather than adopting the all too common piecemeal approach which is entirely dependent on the whims of certain developers.

The positive effects that the natural environment has on addressing climate change, air and water quality, biodiversity, social well-being, and to national and local identity must be translated into effective planning policy. Our rural areas need to be safeguarded to ensure a sustainable future for our islands. The rural setting is as important, culturally, economically and socially as are our urban centres, our built cultural heritage, and our natural resources, and must be recognised and treated as such.

 

 

CIR 16/19 | CTBs and Regularisation

Dear Colleagues,

In March 2019, the Kamra tal-Periti submitted a complaint to the Commissioner for Environment and Planning within the Office of the Ombudsman regarding PA Circular 4/12. Following is a summary of the situation to date, and the Kamra’s guidance to periti.

 

Background and Ombudsman’s decision

PA Circular 4/12 states that when an application for development permission is submitted on a site which is covered by a CTB concession, then the irregularity “needs to either be sanctioned or removed, prior to any processing of the application.  If the illegal development cannot be sanctioned, a regularisation application would need to have been submitted and approved prior to the planning application being confirmed as complete.

The Kamra tal-Periti requested the Ombudsman’s office to investigate this matter, outlining its opinion that holders of CTB concessions for minor irregularities were facing serious risks on their investment unless the Planning Authority changed its interpretation of the law. Banks that have taken such properties as security against mortgages are also at risk in case of default, as the value of such properties may be much lower than expected as a result.

In a decision delivered on the 7th May 2019, the Ombudsman’s Office concluded that the above quoted paragraph from the Authority’s Circular “is found to be unfair, irregular and against the principles of natural justice” and ordered the Planning Authority to “withdraw and cancel this part of the Circular to the effect that a new application can be submitted on a site covered by a CTB concession without the need for sanctioning, regularising or removing the illegal works covered by the same CTB concession, as long as no further illegal development has taken place on site.

 

Latest developments

Despite the passage of several months from such decision, the Circular has not been amended or withdrawn, leaving periti and their clients in a quandary as to how to proceed in such cases.  The Kamra tal-Periti sought clarification from the Ombudsman’s office and from the Planning Authority in the past weeks.

In response to such queries, the Ombudsman wrote to the Planning Authority in August, quoting a statement by the Authority in its response of the 21 May 2019 that “the Authority understands and agrees that applicants requesting development of a site covered by a CTB should not have their application stalled cause of illegalities indicated in the relative concession.

The Ombudsman noted that “As this statement contrasts drastically with the contents of the same Circular that is still in vigore  … and since the implementation of the same recommendation through a correcting circular is taking too long on such an important issue that affects the multitude, you are hereby urged to finalise this correcting circular whilst the Kamra tal-Periti is also being copied so that the Periti are directed in line with the Final Opinion recommendations.“

In a reply dated 4th September 2019, the Planning Authority stated that it “does not understand that further clarifications were meant to be issued further to its communication dated 21st may 2019, also because the requested clarification transpires from the Law itself through the application of the proviso to sub-regulation 14(1) of the Legal Notice 514 of 2010 read in conjunction with sub-regulation 1(3)(d) of Legal Notice 162 of 2016.

The Ombudsman responded on the 10th September 2019, stating that “Following the comments in your letter dated 4 September 2019 it appears that the Authority is not taking any action in line with my recommendations within a reasonable time and hence the provisions of sub-article 22(4) of the Ombudsman Act will apply.

Sub-article 22(4) of the Ombudsman Act states that “If within a reasonable time after the report is made no action is taken which seems to the Ombudsman to be adequate and appropriate, the Ombudsman, in his discretion, after considering the comments (if any) made by or on behalf of any department, organisation or local council affected, may send a copy of the report and recommendations to the Prime Minister, and may thereafter make such report to the House of Representatives on the matter as he thinks fit.

In response to an additional follow up email from the Kamra tal-Periti, the Ombudsman confirmed, on the 3rd October 2019, that “Following the final opinion the understanding was that this Office would not need to come to this, but this Office is committed to follow the whole procedure afforded by law in the circumstances, that is in order through the Minister concerned, the Prime Minister and publicly in front of the House of Representatives if need be.“

 

Guidance for periti

Although the matter has not yet been concluded, the Council of the Kamra tal-Periti felt it would be opportune to issue this Circular, outlining the current state of affairs, in order to provide guidance to periti and their clients on the situation as it stands. Periti are invited to quote this Circular and the Ombudsman’s decisions in their proceedings with the Planning Authority and the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal where necessary.

 

Note

All Directives and Circulars are being sent to all periti who are on the Kamra’s database. If you meet colleagues who are not receiving such communications, kindly ask them to send an email to buildingregs@kamratalperiti.org so that the records can be updated.

 

Perit Simone Vella Lenicker
President

 

CIR 15/19 | New Forms for use prior to commencement of works or utilisation of planning permit

Dear Colleagues,

Following the coming into force of Legal Notice 136 of 2019, the Building Regulation Office had published a set of Forms to administer the requirements imposed by said Legal Notice.

Several meetings and discussions ensued regarding various changes to the Forms, including the Kamra’s proposal to completely separate the planning process from the construction process by amending the Commencement Notice that is required to be submitted to the Planning Authority to contain only that information which is relevant to the planning process, and the rest of the information relating to the construction process being amalgamated within the BRO Forms.

Following the establishment of the new Building and Construction Agency in August 2019, further discussions took place, and we can finally announce that the Forms are being amended today.

 

Main changes

The main changes to the Forms are outlined below.

1. Works that do not affect third parties

Whenever works do not affect third parties, and are therefore not subject to the provisions of Legal Notice 136 of 2019, the Form titled Commencement Notice – for use when works do not affect third parties is to be submitted. This replaces the current Commencement Notice required by the Planning Authority, and has been amended to require only the details of the Developer, the Licensed Mason (where applicable) and the Site Manager appointed in terms of Legal Notice 295 of 2007 (where applicable).

The Perit in Charge is to state reasons to justify situations when either a Licensed Mason or a Site Manager (or both) is/are not required for the works in hand.

This Form is to be used ONLY where the works do not affect third parties, and therefore in the following situations:

  • Works that do not qualify under Regulation 4 of Legal Notice 136 of 2019, in which case the Form titled Declaration that Works Do Not fall Under the Scope of Legal Notice 136 of 2019 must also be submitted;
  • Works that fall under Regulation 26 of Legal Notice 136 of 2019, in which case the Form titled Declaration in Terms of Regulation 26 must also be submitted;
  • Regularisation permits.

In such cases, the relevant Forms are to be submitted at least five days prior to the commencement of works or utilisation of permit.

 

2. Works that affect third parties and fall under the provisions of Legal Notice 136 of 2019

Whenever works fall under the provisions of Legal Notice 136 of 2019 as defined in Regulation 4 thereof, the Form titled Commencement Notice / Site Management Responsibility Form is to be submitted. This is a combined Form for use by both the Planning Authority and the Building and Construction Agency, and requires the submission of details of all the persons required on the site, as per the relevant legislation.

The Perit in Charge is to state reasons to justify situations when either a Licensed Mason or a Site Manager (or both) is/are not required for the works in hand.

In such cases, the relevant Forms are to be submitted at least two weeks prior to the commencement of works or utilisation of permit.

 

3. Requests for exemptions under Regulation 25 of Legal Notice 136 of 2019

Regulation 25 empowers the Director of the Building Regulation Office to ˝issue appropriate orders according to the requirements and nature of the particular site“. Forms 25A, 25B and 25C were developed to standardise certain requests for exemptions from the requirements of the Legal Notice.

The following is to be noted:

  • Form 25A is being repealed;
  • Form 25B is to be used in all cases which fall under the definitions in Regulation 4, and where a request for exemption from the appointment of a Site Technical Officer is being made – this Form cannot be used if the works include excavation or demolition;
  • Form 25C is to be used only in the case of emergency works, including works permitted under the Dangerous Structures procedure.

Any other requests for exemptions from any provisions of Legal Notice 136 of 2019 that are not coverd by Forms 25B and 25C are to be submitted in the form of a letter, signed by the Perit in Charge, accompanied by a declaration signed by the Developer stating:

I, …., ID No …, in my capacity as developer for the works approved under PA…, hereby declare that I have requested Perit … to submit a request for exemption from the requirements of Legal Notice 136 of 2019. I further declare that I am aware of the responsibilities pertaining to the undersigned in terms of the Legal Notice 136 of 2019, and that I have acknowledged the submission and content of the said request for exemption.

 

In such cases, the relevant Forms are to be submitted at least two weeks prior to the commencement of works or utilisation of permit.

 

4. General notes

  1. All the Forms except the one described in Section (1) above (Commencement Notice – for use when works do not affect third parties) are to be submitted through the Avoidance of Damage tab on eApps. Failure to follow this requirement will mean that the system will not notify the Building and Construction Agency. The Form titled Commencement Notice – for use when works do not affect third parties is to be submitted through the Commencement Notice tab on eApps, and will only be notified to the Planning Authority.
  2. Where the works fall under the provisions of Legal Notice 136 of 2019, the Site Management Responsibility Summary Form must always be submitted.
  3. Whenever there is a change in the person assuming any of the roles detailed in the Forms, the Change of Responsibility Form is to be submitted.
  4. Whenever there is a change in any of the details of a person assuming any of the roles detailed in the Forms (eg. change in address, etc), the Site Management Responsibility Form – Update is to be submitted.
  5. It is to be noted that where the Licensed Mason is assuming the role of Mason as required by the Code of Police Laws AND the role of Contractor as defined in the Civil Code and in other relevant legislation, such person is sign the relevant sections assigned in the Forms to the Mason AND to the Contractor accordingly.

 

 

Transition period

The Kamra tal-Periti, the Building and Construction Agency, and the Planning Authority have reached agreement on the following:

  • Any Forms submitted prior to the 1st November 2019 will be considered as valid, unless they are not compliant with the relevant requirements;
  • Until the 30th November 2019, the Planning Authority and the Building and Construction Agency shall accept the submission of the old versions of the Forms, in an effort to avoid having to obtain all signatures if these have already been obtained in the past days or weeks – Periti are nevertheless advised that it is recommended to use the new Forms whenever possible during this transition period;
  • The old Forms will no longer be accessible on the Planning Authority website as from the 1st November 2019;
  • Form 25A shall be repealed as from the 1st November 2019, and no such requests shall be entertained thereafter.

 

Additional notes

Various amendments to the text of the Forms have been effected. It is not the scope of this Circular to go into the detail of such amendments, and the rationale behind them. Periti are advised to read the new content of the Forms carefully before signing off, and to advise their Clients and other persons required to sign the Forms to do the same.

The Kamra tal-Periti remains available to provide clarifications on specific queries by Periti, and encourages all its members to submit any feedback on the new Forms accordingly.

It is intended to continue discussions with the Building and Construction Agency regarding the templates for Condition Reports and Method Statements that are currently downloadable from the Planning Authority website. Any suggestions from Periti in this regard are most welcome.

Note

All Directives and Circulars are being sent to all periti who are on the Kamra’s database. If you meet colleagues who are not receiving such communications, kindly ask them to send an email to buildingregs@kamratalperiti.org so that the records can be updated.

 

Perit Simone Vella Lenicker
President

 

,

PR 31/19 | Partial Review of the Ta’ Qali Action Plan does not consider the national and public interest

In September, the Planning Authority published its proposals for a Partial Review of the Ta’ Qali Action Plan.

The review concerns an area of approximately 60,000 square metres located adjacent to the Embassy of the United States, and proposes to designate such land as a Commercial Area, with an overall building height of 17.5 metres.

The Kamra noted that “across the developed world, out-of-town commercial centres are largely being abandoned in favour of rehabilitated inner-city or urban facilities. These reinforce the desirability of city living and cut down on the vehicular traffic and the attendant pollution and traffic congestion that are inevitably caused by large regional commercial developments located outside the urban area.”

The Kamra tal-Periti further noted that “one of the justifications presented in favour of the proposals is that the site has outlived its usefulness in the industrial context. Whilst recognising that it would, perhaps, be unrealistic to hope for the area to be returned to its undeveloped state, it is pointed out that the general area is earmarked as a Rural Area and the Ta’ Qali National Recreation Centre, which includes no commercial hubs but only enterprise hubs (i.e. the existing industrial areas). It is therefore felt that the area should be re-developed into uses that are complementary to the sports facilities around the National Stadium, and to the adjacent Park tal-Familja. The emphasis on commercial development is therefore questioned in this regard, as is the extent to which the public interest and that of the environment in general were considered.

The proposed revision is premature and lacking in proper studies that would normally arise in a serious and well-considered approach. The Kamra pointed out that allowing intensification is not the solution to the Authority’s claim that the existing industrial use is redundant, and that the proposals appear to be directed more towards appeasing a major private landowner and facilitating their interests than achieving any planning gains or safeguarding the national interest and that of the public at large.

 

 

,

PR 10/19 | Planning Authority decision is “unfair, irregular and against the principles of natural justice”

Verzjoni bil-Malti

The Commissioner for Environment and Planning within the Office of the Ombudsman has found the Planning Authority’s decision to require holders of CTB concessions to sanction or regularise their property to be “unfair, irregular and against the principles of natural justice”.

The Eighth Schedule regarding Category B concessions, referred to as CTB in short, came into force in August 2012. Residential property owners were able to submit an application to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority to cover illegal development that fell within specific strict parameters. If approved, the applicant would then be allowed to request permission for alterations and additions to the property, and a Compliance Certificate for the provision of new water and electrical services to the dwelling could be issued.

PA Circular 4/12 points out that CTBs do not have an expiry date. The CTB regulations had the effect of restoring the affected properties’ market value to levels comparable to legal properties of a similar description. As a result, these properties became sellable again, and banks were reassured that the effects of the concession were permanent.

With the coming into force of the Development Planning Act in 2016, the CTB regulations were repealed and no further applications could be submitted. In August 2016, new regulations were published that allowed for the regularisation of various types of illegalities, with no specific parameters, as long as these were not deemed to be an “injury to amenity”.

The Kamra tal-Periti had raised a number of concerns with the new regulations, and had published its position particularly regarding reports from members of the profession that the Planning Authority was requiring holders of CTB concessions to regularise their property, at a much heftier fee than what they had originally paid for the concession.

On the 28th January 2019, the Planning Authority published a Circular titled “Category B Concession (CTB) Explained”. The Circular concludes that when an application for development permission is submitted on a site which is covered by a CTB concession, then the irregularity “needs to either be sanctioned or removed, prior to any processing of the application.  If the illegal development cannot be sanctioned, a regularisation application would need to have been submitted and approved prior to the planning application being confirmed as complete.

The Kamra tal-Periti requested the Ombudsman’s office to investigate this matter in March 2019, outlining its opinion that holders of CTB concessions for minor irregularities were facing serious risks on their investment unless the Planning Authority changed its interpretation of the law. Banks that have taken such properties as security against mortgages are also at risk in case of default, as the value of such properties may be much lower than expected as a result.

In a decision delivered on the 7th May 2019, the Ombudsman’s Office concluded that the above quoted paragraph from the Authority’s Circular “is found to be unfair, irregular and against the principles of natural justice” and ordered the Planning Authority to “withdraw and cancel this part of the Circular to the effect that a new application can be submitted on a site covered by a CTB concession without the need for sanctioning, regularising or removing the illegal works covered by the same CTB concession, as long as no further illegal development has taken place on site.

The Council of the Kamra tal-Periti does not condone illegal development in any way, however once certain rights were granted to property owners in the past these cannot be taken away at a later date, more so when the legal ramifications are wide ranging and potentially serious.

 

DIR 02/19 | Marsamxett Balcony Grant Scheme

Reference is made to the Expression of Interest (EOI) issued by the Planning Authority regarding the Marsamxett Balcony Scheme. Said EOI indicates that only those fees of periti who registered with the Authority will be reimbursed as part of the grant scheme, and this only up to €500.00.

The Kamra tal-Periti was not consulted on this EOI, and has the following observations:

  • This call is unprecedented, since it was never a requirement for periti to register directly with the Authority in order to be on some “list”. All periti, by virtue of their warrant, are eligible to submit applications on behalf of their clients, and do not require any form of endorsement or registration by the Authority.
  • The call guarantees that fees due to the periti who register with the Authority will be reimbursed directly by the Authority, up to the afore-mentioned cap. This means that unless periti are registered with the Authority, reimbursement to the applicant cannot be guaranteed; this cannot be accepted, not least because 80% of the funds come from EU sources. It also means that periti who are not on the list are disadvantaged since their clients cannot claim reimbursement of their fees.
  • The Authority has also taken it upon itself to decide what appears to be the appropriate fees for the services required, by establishing a cap on the amount that would be covered by the fund. In most cases, this will barely cover the fees required to undertake a survey of the property.

The Kamra tal-Periti has communicated with the Planning Authority regarding the above, and was informed that the creation of this register was deemed to  be required because a number of potential applicants were not able to engage periti to submit applications on their behalf, either because of lack of finance or because the periti they approached were not in a position to undertake the services required. The Authority also informed that the Kamra that the amount of fees covered by the grant was determined by the PPCD (Planning and Priorities Co-ordination Division). Despite the Kamra’s objections to the EOI, the Authority has not withdrawn said EOI, and the list of periti who registered is now available online.

Periti are reminded of their obligation at law to enter into a written agreement with their clients regarding the amount of fees due, clearly outlining the services to be carried out and the terms of payment (refer to the Kamra‘s Directive on this matter). Periti are also reminded that they are not obliged to receive payment for their services only after the grant is awarded, but at any time during the provision of the services that they deem fit, and that such dates are to be clearly stipulated in the agreement with the client.

 

Perit Simone Vella Lenicker
President

 

KTP submits its Consultation Reply on the Kottonera Strategy document

The Kamra tal-Periti has submitted its feedback on the Kottonera Strategy document issued by the Cottonera Rehabilitation Committee as part of the public consultation process.

The Council of the Kamra tal-Periti welcomed the proposed Cottonera Strategy Document, which appears to have been prepared through a bottom-up approach which involved the residents, the Local Councils and the various entities which operate with the towns in the region. It is clear that this approach has led Government to have a good understanding of the problems faced by these localities, as well as to understand the various solutions which have been proposed by those who inhabit, or regularly visit, the area.

The Kamra has made four principal proposals in its consultation reply:

  1. Expansion of restoration grants in the Cottonera area
  2. The use of design competitions for the various public projects being proposed in the document to promote excellence in design
  3. The setting up of a Centre for Architecture and the Built Environment in the Cottonera area. Malta is indeed one of the few European countries not to have such a centre.
  4. Nine urban project proposals.

Click here for to read all the public consultation replies and press releases issued by the Kamra in the past few years.

 

DIR 03/18 | Restoration Method Statements

Over the past few months, a number of periti have reported that after having submitted a Restoration Method Statement (RMS) to the Planning Authority, they were requested to submit “a new document, on office letterhead consisting of ONE page ONLY and stating ONLY the following…”. The rest of the request went on to dictate what should be stated in such one-pager.

This is not only unacceptable, but completely unprofessional, apart from undermining the standing of warranted Periti, particularly those specialised in conservation and restoration methodology, to have the content of their reports dictated to them. The RMS is an important tool in ensuring that restoration works are carried out with care and in a professional manner, and there is absolutely no reason for the Planning Authority to make this request, especially when one considers that in most cases the reports are being submitted in accordance with the Terms of Reference issued by the Authority itself (https://www.pa.org.mt/file.aspx?f=23154).

On the other hand, it is to be also noted that the Planning Authority has commented that not all RMS submissions are up to standard, oftentimes containing various mistakes and irrelevant information. It is therefore important that periti ensure that the quality of their submissions is maintained at all times.

The Council of the Kamra tal-Periti has raised its concerns on this matter with the Executive Chairperson of the Planning Authority, who agreed that this practice is unacceptable, while indicating that the Executive Council and the Director of Planning were not aware of this practice. They confirmed they would be issuing instructions to the officers concerned to desist from making further similar requests.

The Council of the Kamra tal-Periti would like to take this opportunity to thank the Executive Chairperson for his immediate action.

The Council has been requested to forward examples of such requests made over the last few months, and periti are therefore invited to forward the relevant application numbers without delay.

Finally, the Council is hereby issuing a Directive to all periti to ignore any further similar requests from the Planning Authority, and to report them immediately to the Council on info@kamratalperiti.org for further action.

 

Planning Authority responds to the Kamra’s concerns about CTBs by citing the funds it has generated as a result

The Planning Authority has responded to the article published by the Kamra on this website regarding the predicament owners of properties covered by CTBs find themselves in as a result of the incorrect interpretation of the law regarding the effects of the concessions they were granted.

As explained in the previous article, property owners who submitted a CTB application to the PA to cover illegal development that fell within specific parameters, together with a payment of €250, were granted the two following concessions, as outlined in PA Circular 4/12:

  1. applications requesting permission for alterations and additions to the same dwelling unit could be accepted (without prejudice to any other requirements); and
  2. a Certificate for the provision of new water / electrical services to the dwelling could be issued as per Article 92 of the Act.

The circular also points out that CTBs do “not have an expiry date“.

The Kamra raised its concerns about the Planning Authority’s insistence that properties covered by a CTB must first be regularised before a new application requesting permission for alterations or additions could be accepted, completely subverting the effects of the CTB, which is a legally acquired right.

In its statement, the Planning Authority confirms that CTBs do not regularise or sanction properties. It also implies that the new regulations are in some way giving people an opportunity by stating that gave the “possibility to holders of CTB concessions to regularize the unauthorized interventions covered by such concessions.” However, it does not comment about various instances where applicants were made to regularise their property, despite being covered by a CTB, and does not comment on the legality or fairness of its unilateral decision not to recognise the concessions granted by CTBs thereby prejudicing owners of such properties, not to mention the banks that have hypothecated such properties as a mortgage security.

The Planning Authority concludes by saying that it “has received 5897 applications for the Regularisation of Development Inside Development Zone from August 2016 until recently. These applications have generated €13,901,159.06 of funds which are distributed as follows: 70% for the Irrestawra Darek scheme, 20% for the Development Planning Fund and 10% for the authority’s administrative expenses in relation to these schemes.”

This would appear to confirm a more cynical explanation as to why the Authority has decided to disregard the legality of CTBs – that its main interest is that of generating funds for the Authority’s schemes rather than seeking equity and fairness.

Members of the public and of the profession are invited to contact the Kamra tal-Periti on info@kamratalperiti.org should they have been compelled or are being compelled into regularising a property covered by a CTB, providing details about their case. All communication will be handled in strict confidence.

Property owners with a CTB concession at risk