Former minister Anton Refalo’s wife requests permit for ODZ hotel

Site subjected to two enforcement orders in 2002 and 2009, both regularised in subsequent years

The wife of former Gozo minister Anton Refalo has applied for a change in use of a residential house into a three-star hotel that lies outside development zones.

The site in Tal-Malvi in Qala, where Refalo’s wife Lina is proposing an ODZ hotel, was subject to two enforcement orders in the past two decades. These irregularities were regularised by two successful applications to sanction additions which had been carried out without a permit.

If approved, the new 3-star hotel being proposed through the addition of a new basement floor will overlook the picturesque Dahhlet Qorrot Bay.

Piecemeal development on the 2000 sq.m site, including various additions to the existing farmhouse, a swimming pool approved in 2004, and extensive landscaping works carried out between 1998 and 2018, have drastically changed the topography of the site as can be confirmed by a comparison of aerial photos taken by the Planning Authority.

In 2009 the PA justified the regularisation of a reservoir and landscaping works as these were in line with the landscaping layout already approved in the previous applications, while the reservoir was deemed acceptable as it complimented the use of the garden.

All applications presented up to 2004 had been presented by Anton Refalo who was already a Labour MP at the time. But all applications presented on the site after 2009 were presented by his wife Lina.

The latest application foresees excavations beneath the farmhouse to accommodate hotel rooms and ancillary services. The 2014 rural policy allows the development of basement levels and facilitates a change of use of legal establishments.

Anton Refalo’s planning saga

October 1998 – PA refuses Anton Refalo’s application for an additional room to dwelling

January 2000 – Appeals Tribunal revokes refusal and issues permit for an additional room

2001– Enforcement order issued against Anton Refalo for extensions carried out not according to approved plans

November 2001– Application presented by Anton Refalo to sanction additions to dwelling is refused

October 2002 – Sanctioning of additions approved following reconsideration

August 2004 –  Anton Refalo’s application for Swimming Pool approved

2009 – PA issues enforcement order against construction of reservoir, variations regarding the paving area and construction of rubble walls

September 2009 – PA approves new landspacing scheme and regularises reservoir as proposed in application presented by Lino Refalo.

January 2015 – Application for landscaping scheme renewed

More in Townscapes