Planning Commission ‘clutching at straws’ to approve development, ERA says

The authority accused the Commission of intentionally turning a blind eye in order to approve a Zebbug villa permit which it said would eradicate a cliff edge in the area

ERA said the development would eradicate the cliff edge in the area and create a private belvedere
ERA said the development would eradicate the cliff edge in the area and create a private belvedere

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has accused the Planning Commission of doing its utmost to grant a permit for the construction of a villa in Zebbug.

The authority said it had filed an appeal against the approval of a permit, which it said would “eradicate the cliff edge and formalise a site that is currently pristine”.

“The Commission has turned a blind eye to the holistic aspect of the proposal and clutched at straws in order to approve this development,” ERA said.  

It said that the site in which the proposed development is located is a sensitive one, adding that the development is not in line with objectives of the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED).

ERA said that before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal it had opposed the fact that the Planning Commission had, “without explanation”, ignored what was brought before it by ERA’s Case Officer, as well as the advice of external consultants and objectors.

“Additionally, permission was approved despite the fact that the applicant did not provide the information that was requested by ERA, the Design Advisory Committee of the Planning Authority and the Planning Directorate,” ERA said.

Furthermore, it pointed out that three-quarters of the site in question is in a zone outside development.

“ERA believes that this Commission was selective and only considered part of the development that is located within development zone,” it said, adding that the proposal should have been assessed with all applicable policies, including those concerning ODZ.

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