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Proposed Ghar Lapsi bar platform set for refusal

The platform is being proposed by the bar owners to create a 65 square metre tables-and-chairs area on public land at Ghar Lapsi.

James Debono
27 February 2016, 10:46am
The bar owners want to erect a platform to cover a hole created by the elements and create space for their clients
The Malta Environment and Planning Authority’s Planning Directorate is objecting to plans by Carmen’s bar in Ghar Lapsi to cover a hole created by wave action on the Ghar Lapsi shoreline with a removable timber and steel platform to be erected in the summer months.

The platform is being proposed by the bar owners to create a 65 square metre tables-and-chairs area on public land at Ghar Lapsi.

According to the case officer, part of the area (25 square metres) has already been covered by a concrete platform: the case officer has insisted that this would amount to the “covering of a public open space” and take up part of a public beach. 

But despite objections by the Environment Protection Directorate, the case officer has deemed acceptable plans for the change of use of the existing establishment, where no cooking is allowed, to a full blown restaurant and the sanctioning of works which included digging into the rocks near the bar. 

“The sanctioning of the interventions in the rocks is not acceptable. It is dubious whether the extent of development in the rocks is covered by the necessary permits,” the EPD said. The EPD also expressed doubts on whether the bar itself is covered by a permit. 

Referring to the proposed sanctioning of facilities, the case officer report acknowledges that “sanctioning of a fait accompli would reward illegal development” but  concludes that  the site has already been “committed for catering use instead of a boat house.”  

The case officer was also favourable to the placing of chairs and tables on a concrete platform adjacent to the establishment.

The establishment operates legally through a police permit dating back to 1989. A trading licence was issued in 2015. An enforcement order issued against unauthorised digging in the rocks issued in 1999 was “withdrawn” a year later. A permit for an underground cesspit was approved a year later despite a case officer report objecting to the permit. The establishment is described as a “shop” in the application for a cesspit.

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