Permission in Qortin villa area not issued despite Court decision

The planning application for the construction of nine dwellings in a plot sandwiched between Triq Edmund Halley and Triq N has been turned down after the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal observed that the site in question was designated as a Residential Priority Area forming part of Tal-Qortin Comprehensive Scheme in Mellieha.

At issue was a planning application for the construction of nine dwellings in a plot sandwiched between Triq Edmund Halley and Triq N.

Copernicus in Mellieha. However, the proposal was turned down after the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal observed that the site in question was designated as a Residential Priority Area forming part of Tal-Qortin Comprehensive Scheme in Mellieha.

The Tribunal made specific reference to policy NWML4 of the North West Malta Local Plan which stipulates that development in this area had to be limited to residential units having a maximum height of two floors and 30% site coverage as well as the provision of a public open space measuring 260sq.m within the site precincts. For this reason, the Tribunal held that applicant was entitled to a maximum of four dwelling units and applicant’s appeal to have nine units was rejected.

Aggrieved by this decision, applicant made an appeal before the Civil Court of Appeal, pin pointing that the Tribunal had ignored paragraph 17.1.4 of policy NWML3 which states that any demand for new dwelling units in the area resulting in an increase in density could be considered. Indeed, the Court agreed with plaintiff and ordered the Tribunal to reassess the case.

For its part, the Tribunal reassessed the merits of the case as ordered by the court, reiterating, however, that ‘the development of the area should not increase the existing residential densities’. In addition, the Tribunal underlined that any new development should not have an adverse impact on the existing residential character, meaning that no further extensions to existing buildings beyond their footprint could be permitted. More so, the Tribunal reaffirmed the principle that any new development in Tal-Qortin was restricted to ‘a maximum height of two floors’ and 30% site coverage. A 260sq.m public open space was also to be provided.

The Tribunal proceeded to analyse whether appellant was correct in claiming that according to paragraph 17.1.4 of policy NWML3, he was entitled to nine units (and not four) since this same paragraph highlights that “an increase in density is envisaged on another site within the area of Tal-Qortin and this should accommodate any demand for new dwelling units in the area”.

Nevertheless, the Tribunal held that this proviso was not relevant in the given circumstances since the context had to be respected so as to avoid ‘an adverse impact on the existing residential character.’ For a second time, the Tribunal confirmed that permission should not be issued.

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