MEPA ordered to reactivate a dismissed permit once it accepted a late payment

The Authority did not refer the ‘late payment’ back to the creditor though the payment was made following dismissal

An application entitled “To sanction apartment at fifth floor level, proposed alteration at fifth floor to create three units and to construct two overlying penthouses” was approved by the Environment and Planning Commission subject to applicant paying a monetary contribution (equivalent to €3,922) towards the Commuted Parking Payment Scheme (CPPS) due to the resulting parking shortfall. The site in question is located in Triq Louis Mountbatten, St Paul’s Bay

Although the applicant was bound to effect such payment within the standard six-month time-frame, failure of which the permit would be dismissed, he requested the Commission to be granted a further two-month extension. The Commission granted an additional two-month period and yet applicant failed to address his financial commitment. Consequently, the permit was referred to the Commission and eventually dismissed due to applicant’s failure to abide with the permit conditions.

Following the dismissal of the permit, applicant decided to send a €3,922 cheque to MEPA. At the same time, applicant lodged an appeal before the Environment and Planning Tribunal, stating that the permit can now be reactivated since the payment was duly effected.

In reaction, the MEPA objected to applicant’s request and reminded the Tribunal that the permit was approved subject to “the payment of CPPS contribution for the parking shortfall and a fine in view of sanctioning”.

The MEPA insisted that the permit was dismissed due to applicant failing to effect the relative payment within the extended eight-month time-frame. The Authority further recalled that “the payment was carried out in full during the process of the appeal” and warned that “should this application be overturned by the Tribunal, a precedent will be created where other development applications will neglect and abuse the importance of payment against conditions imposed in permit.”

In its assessment, the Tribunal found that appellant was not contesting the Commission’s decision to dismiss the permit. Furthermore, it was uncontested that the payment was only effected once the permit was dismissed. Nonetheless, the Tribunal observed that the Authority did not refer the “late payment” back to the creditor (in this case, appellant), notwithstanding the fact that such payment was made following dismissal. In the circumstances, the Tribunal ordered the Authority to issue the permit since it was evident that the Authority had ”accepted” the payment.

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