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Police to get power to build without permit

Home affairs minister Michael Farrugia is to be given widespread discretionary powers on development carried out by the police force on land under its 'operational control'

james
James Debono
13 July 2017, 7:05am
Home affairs minister Michael Farrugia is to be given widespread discretionary powers on development carried out by the police force
Home affairs minister Michael Farrugia is to be given widespread discretionary powers on development carried out by the police force
Home affairs minister Michael Farrugia is to be given widespread discretionary powers on development carried out by the police force on land under its “operational control”, including the power to build without a permit – if a legal notice issued for public consultation last week is approved.

The legal notice states that development carried out by the police force can be undertaken without even a planning notification whenever “in the opinion of the Minister responsible for the Malta Police Force” the development is “urgently required for national security reasons” and the Planning Authority “is informed accordingly.” 

Similar discretionary powers already exist for the development required by the army or for detention facilities for irregular migrants. 

In September 2013 the no-notification applied “where in the opinion of the Minister responsible for the Armed Forces or the Minister responsible for Immigration, the development is urgently required for national security reasons or for humanitarian, security or other relevant reasons, respectively.”

In this way a concrete structure constructed by the Armed Forces of Malta at Haywharf was erected without a planning permit.

A statement issued by the Planning Authority to announce the public consultation omits this detail, while focusing on the inclusion of two new category classes to the law regulating the Development Notification Order (DNO). 

According to the same legal notice, development carried out by the police force on land under its  “operational control”, will be exempted from full planning procedures and instead carried out through the DNO, which applies to small-scale developments such as washrooms, traffic lights and internal alterations.

Only when the development is located on scheduled property, will the PA be obliged to seek clearance by the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage and by the Environment and Resources Authority. While this means that development in scheduled areas like Natura 2000 sites and archeologically protected zones will need a clearance from either one of these authorities, no such clearance will be required in other ODZ sites or in urban conservation areas.

Development carried out by the director of the Corradino Correctional Facility on land designated for the facility will also be exempted from full planning procedures. 

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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