Illegal developments, construction waste cleared from ODZ sites

Concrete pathways, illegal dumping and make-shift rooms were among the offences

The Compliance and Enforcement Directorate within the Planning Authority (PA) closed off a number of illegal development cases, ranging from built-up rooms, cabins, and dumping of construction waste and scrap material.

PA officials discovered an illegal concrete passageway in the archeologically sensitive Għar il-Kbir, Siġġiewi. The authority re-exposed a stretch of land with prehistoric cart ruts and returned it back to its original state, in line with a Restoration Method Statement approved by the PA.

This removal process was supervised by a monitor approved by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, and engaged at the expense of the contravener.

Apart from this, a number of rooms were built without planning permission in outside-development-zone (ODZ) areas, namely off Triq Wied ta’ San Martin in Attard, near Triq il-Fortizza ta’ Bengħajsa in Birżebbuġa, and in an area known as Ta’ Rebħa on a site adjacent to the large Dingli reservoir.

These rooms were all demolished and the sites were returned back for agricultural purposes.

In Mġarr. three sites were cleared of illegal developments. A room and other adjoining structures were demolished and removed at Sqaq Randun, while two cabin structures were removed from a field in Triq l-Armaġġ and in Żebbieħ. Both were placed without permissions.

Construction material and other waste was dumped at a site at Wied Tal-Imsielet. The contravener complied with instructions from PA enforcement officers to clear the waste.

In Birżebbuġa, specifically Triq Ħal Far and Triq Kalafrana, one field was being used as a boatyard while another was being used to dump construction material and other waste. Both fields were cleared.

At Għajn Tuffieħa in Mellieħa, oil tanks and scrap material were being stored without permission. They were removed by the contravener upon the orders of enforcement officers.

In Gozo, several illegal structures were discovered in Għasri and Xewkija. One of the structures included a large make-shift room on top of a concrete platform, and another structure was used as cages for animals.

Both structures were demolished and the sites returned back to their original state.

Thomas Paris, the newly-appointed Deputy Director within the directorate, said that the PA’s officers have upskilled in recent years, using “the art of persuasion” to convince contraveners to remedy the situation themselves.

“Taking direct action by hiring sub- contractors’ machinery to demolish or remove illegal development is our last resort since it is very costly to the PA and the contravener. When contraveners take action themselves to remove illegal development, it is a win-win situation.”