[WATCH] Developers' group sets up independent technical section

The Malta Developers Association launched a set of affordable housing proposals, drawn up by a newly set up independent technical section

Developers have proposed incentives to encourage the inclusion of affordable dwellings within large projects
Developers have proposed incentives to encourage the inclusion of affordable dwellings within large projects
The MDA has presented government with proposals for the construction of more affordable housing units

The Malta Developers Association has set up a new, independent technical section, composed of experts such as architects and civil engineers, which will be consulting the developers’ group.

The section will be autonomous, with its direction not being influenced by the MDA, the Association said.

The members of the section, including Perit Stephen Farrugia, a former President of the Chamber of Architects (KTP), drew up a paper on affordable housing that Perit Farrugia outlined in a presentation to Transport Minister Ian Borg and Property Market Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius today.

Among the proposals was a suggestion for the building of smaller housing units which make better use of the space available.

The proposals were presented to Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg, whose portfolio includes the Planning Authority and the housing market.

Current regulations set out that a one-bed apartment cannot be less than 55 sq.m, while the minimum size for two-bed and three-bed apartments are 90 sq.m and 115 sq.m respectively.

Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg was presented the proposals for the creation of affordable dwellings by the Malta Developers Association
Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg was presented the proposals for the creation of affordable dwellings by the Malta Developers Association

But the MDA is proposing lower limits, enabling more flats to be inserted within a building and so leading to a lower cost per unit for the buyer.

MDA head Sandro Chetcuti said setting a smaller area requirement did not necessarily mean having less living space.

"Space that is usually wasted for corridors can be used more effectively, in such a way as to provide for a greater living area. In this way, an 80 sq.m apartment can actually have more space to live in than a 90 sq.m one," he said.

The MDA also suggested introducing planning measures for medium to large developments which provide that 20% of the building project is reserved for affordable housing.

New measures allowing for regeneration projects, as well as the revisiting of rules regarding zoning "anomalies" which prohibit construction in certain non-ODZ areas was also suggested.

The MDA went on to propose that the 75% ownership condition introduced by the rationalisation process should be waived.

It said internal development - which was banned by the Planning Authority - should be looked at again.

Finally, the MDA suggested that part of the development planning fees and planning gain fees should be done away with for projects which include within them a minimum of 20% dedicated to affordable housing.

Minister Ian Borg said it was premature at this stage to comment on whether he agreed with the suggestions or not.

"It is however a positive thing that developers come together and suggest sustainable policies, which help those in society who are having difficulties buying property," Borg said.

Chetcuti invited other architects, civil engineers and other professionals in the field to come forward and give their contribution within the new section.

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