Regularisation scheme extended to partly ODZ properties

When introduced originally in 2016, the regularisation scheme was restricted to the development zone

File photo
File photo

The Planning Authority has extended its regularisation scheme through which owners pay a fee to ‘regularise' illegalities which cannot be sanctioned otherwise.

The scheme covers planning infringements in rural hamlets and development on properties which are partly outside the development zone.

When introduced originally in 2016, the regularisation scheme was restricted to the development zone.

But now the scheme also applies to pre-2016 properties which have their site perimeter partially beyond the development boundaries, but which are covered with an existing permit. 

This means that a development which is illegal in its entirety will not be eligible for regularisation, but the scheme will allow the regularisation of developments protruding in to the ODZ.

Properties that have been subject to a PA enforcement issued prior to 2016 will also be eligible for regularisation. The scheme is aimed to make it easier for owners to sell their properties. This is because banks generally do not approve the financing of properties with illegalities on them.

As was the case with the previous scheme, illegalities committed after 2016 cannot be sanctioned by the scheme.

The amendments also foresee the regularisation of minor illegalities in rural hamlets, Category 1 Rural Settlement, rural hamlets which though technically located beyond development zones predate planning laws. 

The regularisation scheme does not cover smaller rural hamlets interspersed in the countryside which fall under a different designation, but applies to settlements which are normally in close proximity to the main urban areas but separated from the main urban area by a gap.

Examples of such settlements include Triq il-Marfa in Ghadira, Tal-Lunzjata in Rabat and Tal-Ghajn in Mgarr. As with the previous scheme, regularisation will only be approved if there is no injury to amenity and if the building is used for a function in conformity with current planning policies and regulations.

The public was given 14-days (till 21 November) to submit feedback on the new proposed rules.