Architects' chief warns of significant impact on property value from landmark court ruling

Kamra tal-Periti advises property owners to consult architects specialised in property valuations to assess the impact of a landmark court decision on their financial position

Kamra tal-Periti President Andre Pizzuto
Kamra tal-Periti President Andre Pizzuto

The Kamra tal-Periti has welcomed last week’s court sentence revoking a permit for a five-storey block in Santa Lucija but warns this could cause "significant aftershocks" to the real estate sector.

KTP President Andre Pizzuto described the court decision as a landmark and one that "wipes out the speculative approach to development adopted by the Planning Authority over the past 17 years”. 

In comments to MaltaToday, Pizzuto said the ruling spelt "very positive news" for those keen on sound town planning while adding that it also vindicated the chamber’s criticism of the interpretation of planning policies in the past two decades.

The court decision concerned a proposed five-storey development in Santa Lucija, an area characterised by two-storey houses. Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti revoked the permit that had been confirmed by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal. The court made it clear that the height limitation in the local plan does not result in an automatic right to build up to that height and although a development may adhere to the height limitation in the local plan it could still be in breach of other policies which cannot be overruled simply because the height limitation is respected.

But Pizzuto warns the landmark judgment could "have a significant impact on property valuations and the exposure of banks”.

He advised property owners who have concerns about the impact of the ruling on their financial position, to consult an architect specialised in property valuations. He also announced that after studying the full ramifications of this judgement the Chamber will be holding seminars for architects to keep them abreast of the latest developments.

MaltaToday reached out to other stakeholders including environmentalists and activists who welcomed the decision, and the Malta Developers Association, whose president Michael Stivala insisted the sentence was nothing new.

READ ALSO: Will landmark judgment end pencil developments?