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Cosmetics store rejected in Swieqi

A planning application to convert part of a garage into a cosmetics store was turned down by the Environment and Planning Commission because it 'has a deleterious impact on the amenity of the area'

robert_musumeci
Robert Musumeci
21 October 2016, 7:59am
It was held that the proposal fails to make adequate provision for off-street loading and unloading
It was held that the proposal fails to make adequate provision for off-street loading and unloading
A planning application to convert part of a garage into a cosmetics store was turned down by the Environment and Planning Commission. The premises in question are located within the designated residential area of Swieqi. The Commission pointed out that ‘the proposed store has a deleterious impact on the amenity of the area in which it is located and therefore also runs counter to policy NHHO 01 of the North Harbours Local Plan and SPED Thematic Objective 6.1 and Urban Objectives 3.5 and UO 4.2. 2.’

Additionally, it was held that the proposal fails to make adequate provision for off-street loading and unloading, thus having ‘an adverse impact on the free and safe flow of vehicles on the adjoining highway and will not be in the interests of pedestrian safety or convenience.’ In order to support the said arguments, the Commission made reference to SPED Thematic Objective 6.1 and Urban Objectives 3.5 and 4.2.

In reaction, the applicant filed an appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal. In his submissions, the applicant argued that only part of the premises were to be used as a ‘cosmetics store’. More so, the appellant insisted that he was willing to abide by any condition which the Tribunal deems fit to impose, whilst pointing out that the frontal part would still be used as a garage for private vehicles. Moreover, the applicant made reference to a number of commercial outlets located in the vicinity, all which were granted a planning permit. 

In reply, the Authority reiterated that ‘the development as proposed breaches the relevant policies’. The case officer made express reference to policy NHHO 01 of the North Harbours Local Plan, adding that ‘the development under appeal is not interconnected with a residential unit and cannot be considered to be a store for domestic purposes’.

Even so, the case officer maintained that the proposed drawings fail to include a proposed loading/unloading bay ‘and therefore the activity will have an adverse impact on the free and safe flow of vehicles on the adjoining road, thus creating an inconvenient hazard to pedestrian safety’.

On the other hand, should the loading/unloading activity take place within the garage, the Authority opined that ‘this will replace the parking spaces required for the overlying dwellings thereby going against SPED Policies’. With regard to the permissions mentioned by the appellant, the Authority highlighted that the said permits were issued prior to the Local Plan whereas the relative uses (namely, beauty salon, domestic stores, clinic, video/DVD rental and a grocer) are considered to be ‘useful amenities to the area’.

In its assessment, the Tribunal made reference to policy NHHO 02 of the North Harbour Local Plan, which specifically lists the types of acceptable commercial uses within residential areas. Concluding, the Tribunal observed that commercial stores do not feature in the said list and went on to reject the appeal.

[email protected]

Dr Musumeci is a perit and a Doctor of Laws

robert_musumeci
Dr Robert Musumeci is a warranted advocate and a perit. He also holds a Masters Degree in ...
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