MP flags PA’s Saturday decision for prime minister’s summary application

Planning Authority chairman says decisions on minor summary applications do not require board hearings and that employees are also brought in to work on Saturdays

The Planning Authority: not open to the public on Saturday but still busy at work
The Planning Authority: not open to the public on Saturday but still busy at work

A decision by the Planning Authority to issue a permit yesterday Saturday for a minor planning application lodged by the Prime Minister, raised a Nationalist MP’s hackles on Twitter.

The application was filed by Joseph Muscat on 15 March 2018, requesting a permit for the removal of an internal wall and insertion of steel beams at the Prime Minister’s Burmarrad residence.

The summary application is a fast-track process aimed for minor works that was formerly known as the development notification order (DNO).

But Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi was quick on the draw when on Twitter he queried the PA’s urgency at approving the application on Saturday. “Shameless. The PA has brought in employees to urgently approve the PM’s application. A law for the gods. By which measure?”

In a comment, the PA’s executive chairman Johann Buttigieg told MaltaToday that the Planning Authority was still working on Saturdays due to its workload.

“Summary applications do not need approval before any planning board. They get approved after a case officer’s report once they get seen by a senior officer, or a board member of the planning commission,” Buttigieg said.

“Such applications require a full board hearing if it is decided by an endorsing officer or a member of the commission. Since these are internal alterations in the prime minister’s private residence, there is no need for a board hearing.”

Representations for the planning application closed on the 4 April. The application was endorsed by Buttigieg himself on 7 April.

More in National