Comedy of errors saves Montebellos from Jerma enforcement

‘The mistake according to the review tribunal was that the name of the owner was not specified when the notice was attached’

The Planning Authority issued an enforcement order against owners Peter and Geoffrey Montebello in August 2016
The Planning Authority issued an enforcement order against owners Peter and Geoffrey Montebello in August 2016

A technical error by the Planning Authority’s enforcement section was ultimately the reason the Montebello brothers, who own the derelict Jerma Hotel, were saved from an enforcement order obliging them to demolish it.

The hotel’s owners were yesterday successful in overturning an order for the hotel’s demolition.  

The enforcement order attached to the Jerma site referred to "the owner” and not to site owner Jefpet Ltd, a company owned by Peter and Geoffrey Montebello.

An enforcement order is only issued against  “the owner”, rather than a specific individual, when the PA is unable to confirm the ownership of the site where the illegality is located.

In this case the Planning Authority was not only aware of the identity of the owners but it had even unsuccessfully tried to deliver the enforcement notice by post directly to JPM Brothers Limited u Jefpet Ltd.

But the notice was returned back to the PA “unclaimed” and therefore the PA had to proceed with attaching the notice on a prominent place on the site of the illegality as stipulated by law.

The mistake according to the review tribunal was that rather than specify the name of the owner of the building, the notice was addressed to "the owner".

The tribunal’s decision to revoke the enforcement notice means that the structure can remain in place until the owners, who have long sought to redevelop the site, decide otherwise - without facing any fines or other measures.

Another silly mistake also saved Gemxija Limited, also partly owned by the Montebello Brothers from an enforcement order calling for the removal of the ruins of the Mistra village site. 

In this case it was the “generic nature” of the enforcement order that led to the tribunal’s decision to revoke the order. 

The enforcement order referred to the “state of abandon” of the site and called on Gemxija to “take all the necessary step to remove the damage” resulting from the hotel’s derelict state in 16 days. 

The tribunal concluded that the PA was obliged to specify what the nature of the damage to ensure that the owners could remove it.

More in Townscapes