How a new Planning Authority app helps citizen journalists report illegalities

One of the Planning Authority's main resources, the 'map server', has been conveniently rendered into a helpful mobile phone app: more people can now keep watch over the changes taking place in their localities

Choose the 2016 layer and switch off the enforcements button

You will instantly see the Maltese islands light up with purple outlines: those are planning applications for developments that have been submitted to the PA in 2016. They are the most recent ones so you can instantly start locating ‘new’ planning interest in the areas you know best.

 

Zoom into your neighbourhood and add all the layers

Check out the place you know best: zoom into your neighbourhood or workplace, add the layers from 1992 onwards, and see all the planning applications that have been filed in your immediate area since then. You will find the names of their applicants – and possibly, but not necessarily owners of the land in question – as well as the architects who submitted the application, whether they are inside or outside the development zone, and of course, what they intend developing on site.

 

Check out enforcement notices around your locality or favourite rambling spots

Switch on the enforcement layer to reveal the myriad planning offences littering the island, coloured in red. Enforcement action by the PA is taken if either a permission is needed and has not been obtained or development not being carried out in accordance with the approved plans or any condition in the permit. If such cases have been detected, a stop notice or stop & enforcement notice an be issued, which means a contravenor should stop immediately and take any necessary actions to regularise his/her position within a 16-30 day period of receipt of the notice.

 

File your own report to the PA

The beauty of this app is that when you physically find yourself witnessing a possible illegality – for example, illegal dumping – the app will geolocate your position. You can then tap on that point in the map and hit a red button to send the PA a report: remember to include the description, send in the attached photos, as well as you name and email.

 

Forward your results to MaltaToday

Being a citizen journalist is just part of the job: you can take screenshots of what you have found and ask our journalists to dig deeper if you don’t have the time or resources to do it – we cannot deal with neighbours’ property disputes, but we will take notice of major new developments that will alter streetscapes and views, and developments that take place in the countryside or outside development zones. Send your photos and planning numbers to [email protected]

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