Proposal cannot be changed after Commission sitting

The Tribunal concluded that, in the circumstances, a new planning application was required. On this basis, the appeal was rejected.

At issue was a development planning application for the sanctioning of a paddock and the reconstruction of rubble walls surrounding a field located outside the development zone, in the area known as Landrijiet in the limits of Rabat.

The Commission turned down the planning application on the following grounds:

The proposal failed to include the sanctioning of an illegal residence and a store which were located within the same site precincts;
The proposal was in breach of policy NWRS 4 of the North West Local Plan (NWLP) due to the presence of steel and aluminium apertures which were not considered ‘to retain and enhance the character of the rural settlement’;

The proposed redevelopment and upgrading of the existing stables would result in an increase in the floor area, hence in conflict with section 2(c) of policy 5.2 of the Rural Policy & Design Guidance (RPDG) 2014;

The paddock area went beyond the curtilage of the stables.

In reaction, applicant lodged an appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, insisting that permission should have been issued. Applicant, now appellant, explained that he had submitted revised drawings so as to include the sanctioning of the unauthorised dwelling extension, which extension would result in a dwelling area of 190sq.m, hence within the permitted 200sq.m-limit applicable for Category 2 dwellings.

Moreover, appellant underlined that he was a part-time farmer, tilling seven tumoli of land in the area and the agricultural store was built ‘to cater for these needs’. With regard to the paddock, appellant underlined that the Agricultural Advisory Committee had found no objection to the proposal subject to it having a minimum area of 36 sq.m ‘if not more than four horses would be kept’.

In reply, the Authority acknowledged that applicant had, through his architect, submitted revised drawings as he had maintained in his appeal, which changes were however not reflected in the proposal description. The case officer underlined that the Tribunal could not decide on these amendments, as it would be acting as a Board of First Instance. As to the paddock, the Authority reiterated that it was located beyond the curtilage of the stables, hence in conflict with policy provisions.

In its assessment the Tribunal observed that the site was located within a Category 2 settlement. The Tribunal also confirmed that appellant had submitted fresh plans after the Commission had directed him to remove the illegal interventions. Nevertheless, these fresh plans indicated that the illegal interventions would be retained, so much so that applicant had requested the Commission to sanction same. The Tribunal concluded that, in the circumstances, a new planning application was required. On this basis, the appeal was rejected.