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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

CRPD meetings at Planning Authority

The Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) has announced that as from 5th March 2018 CRPD representatives will be available for meetings on Wednesdays at the Planning Authority from 7.00am to 3.00pm between October and June and 7:00am to 12.30pm between July and September.

Meetings are strictly by appointment, which are to be made in advance by email on accessibility.vetting@crpd.org.mt

For more information, please contact Ms Marie Barbara on 2226 7600.

 

KTP writes to Minister Bonnici re SCH

The Kamra tal-Periti has written to Minister Owen Bonnici regarding his parliamentary speech on the budget estimates of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage. In its letter, the Kamra has acknowledged that the statistics indicating an increase in the volume of planning applications processed by the SCH has increased from 1,099 in 2015 to 5,412 in 2016.

The Kamra pointed out, however, that the statement was “misleading in that the increase is a result of the new legislation which requires the SCH to assess each and every application for development permission, irrespective of its  impact on cultural heritage matters. Prior to the demerger, the SCH only had to deal with those applications that posed a clear and direct threat to our heritage, whereas now it has to assess even the most trivial of applications, thus impacting heavily on its workload.”

The letter states that while the Kamra agrees that in a country as small as ours, many types of development may impact on our village cores and architectural and cultural heritage, we are now in a situation where the SCH is overloaded with applications to assess, to the extent that it is failing to keep up even with those applications that should fall within its direct remit.

The Kamra insisted that the SCH should be given sufficient resources to fulfill its remit and deal with “the immense workload it is faced with on a daily basis”, pointing out that the MEPA demerger has effectively weakened the SCH rather than strengthen it.

KTP offered to meet with Minister Bonnici to discuss the matter in greater depth so that the problems afflicting the SCH may be urgently addressed.

 

Planning Authority Christmas 2017 Shutdown

PA to digitise PC applications through eApps

The Planning Authority has announced this morning, in a welcome move, that the planning control applications (zoning and alignments) will be included on the eApps electronic application system.

This follows on the inclusion of DNOs, compliance certificate, regularisation and dangerous structure applications in recent months.

The new facility will come into force on 2nd January 2018. Applications which would have not been validated by 22nd December 2017 will need to be uploaded electronically as from the 2nd January 2018.

To read the full circular, including the new procedure click on button below.