Sliema council ‘inundated’ with permit requests as retail owners complain of multiple road closures

Continuous increase in construction work in Sliema has caused multiple roads to be closed and lack of parking spaces

Photos taken by motorists show at least five roads with blocked access yesterday morning
Photos taken by motorists show at least five roads with blocked access yesterday morning
Photos taken by motorists show at least five roads with blocked access yesterday morning
Photos taken by motorists show at least five roads with blocked access yesterday morning
Photos taken by motorists show at least five roads with blocked access yesterday morning
Photos taken by motorists show at least five roads with blocked access yesterday morning
Photos taken by motorists show at least five roads with blocked access yesterday morning
Photos taken by motorists show at least five roads with blocked access yesterday morning

Sliema residents and retail owners are up in arms over the continuous increase in construction work leaving them with multiple closed roads and lack of parking spaces. 

“We are constantly surrounded by cranes, with no access to parking for our customers who spend an hour circling Sliema either stuck in traffic with the multiple road closures,” one shop owner who wanted to remain anonymous said.

The shop owner’s comment resonated with multiple calls made to the MaltaToday newsroom of what has been described as “excessive” permits issued by the Sliema council.

Such permits would vary between requests for a temporary no-parking sign to a full road closure. Photos being published by MaltaToday show blocked access to at least five streets Tuesday morning.

Sliema mayor Anthony Chircop confirmed that the council was “inundated” with permit requests, to the point that the council has employed two fulltime clerks whose job is to process the requests.

“Once construction permits are issued by the Planning Authority it becomes our duty to assist the requests coming in. This problem has been going on for years but currently there has been a huge increase and there’s no sign of slowing down,” Chircop said.

Offering no solution to the complaints, Chircop insisted that the council tries to leave alternative routes open “but it’s a struggle”.

“It’s a balancing act as we try to meet the demands of the contractors and the needs of the residents. We have pressures from all end,” he said.

Chircop said it’s not the first time that permits are refused but whoever made the request would still go ahead with the plan. “Such abuses are not a rarity and we encourage people who come across these things to contact us,” he added, explaining that one would have a parking permit and instead block the road.

“What we issue our notifications and are not enforceable by law. So when motorists ignore such notifications, we have no right to force the removal of a car with the contractor opting to park in the middle of the road and block the road.”

A rough estimate made by Chircop over the phone showed that the council has, so far this year, issued some 20 to 25 permits for cranes and other construction vehicles on a daily basis.

“These works take long: you have the excavation works, the demolition, the construction, the finishing, the moving in of furniture and so on. We are trying hard to accommodate everyone,” he said.

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