Fuel stations: construction giant acquires relocated licence

The construction group Bilom has acquired the licence of the former Savoy Hill fuel station in Sliema, green-lit by the Planning Authority for relocation to a 3,000sq.m site outside the building zones in Luqa

Photomontage of ODZ petrol station on 3000 sq,m of agricultural land approved in Luqa last year after relocation of minuscule Savoy petrol station in Sliema whose license has now been bought by Bilom
Photomontage of ODZ petrol station on 3000 sq,m of agricultural land approved in Luqa last year after relocation of minuscule Savoy petrol station in Sliema whose license has now been bought by Bilom

The licence of the former Savoy Hill fuel station in Sliema, green-lit by the Planning Authority for relocation to a 3,000sq.m site outside the building zones in Luqa, has been acquired by construction group Bilom.

The relocation of the small kerbside fuel station to agricultural land in the vicinity of the Water Services Corporation in Luqa was originally granted to landowner Raymond Brincat back in 2018.

But the Bilom representative Nathan Bartolo has now replaced Brincat in the PA’s records for the Luqa petrol station application.

New planning rules encouraging the relocation of urban petrol pumps to larger plots outside the development zones have increased the value of these licences, allowing businesses to develop mega fuel stations with ancillary retail units.

READ MORE Fuel stations ‘cut down to size’ in revised policy draft

Data from the Regulator for Energy and Water Services (REWS) shows that the Sliema Savoy fuel station licence changed hands twice before its final transfer to the company Bilom Service Station Ltd in 2019. The records only list the names of companies, with individuals’ names omitted due to data protection. A REWS spokesperson said that “some of the transfers occurred due to decease of the licence holder or due to family reasons.”

Bilom had already applied for a fuel station licence along the Coast Road in Bahar ic-Caghaq, also outside development zones, but this fell through for being in breach of policies that only foresee the relocation of existing fuel stations to ODZ areas. The only exception is when new fuel stations are set up adjacent to industrial areas.

Since 2015, 14 fuel station licences have changed ownership. Five of these cases involved transfers to companies owned by the same owners of the urban pumps.

Petrol stations which saw a change of ownership include the Rizzo service station in Birkirkara; the Laguna station in Mosta, which was transferred to Abel Energy; the Mgarr service station in Gozo, transferred to J.D.G Holdings; the Caruana station in Marsaxlokk; the Palmex station in Sliema, transferred to Michael Attard Services Ltd; and the Ta’ Balal station in Luqa.

Seven petrol stations were taken over by new owners between August 2013 and November 2015. These included one from Msida’s Edgar Borg & Sons to Luqa Developments, a company owned by Ludwig Camilleri, who later applied to relocate the station to the Rabat road in Attard; Cassar Fuel Station bought a licence in Lija and Tarxien while giving up another one in Ghajnsielem; Brighton Garage sold a licence for a petrol station in Floriana to Seaview and Sons, the same company that owns the Pitstop station in Attard.

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