Shortage of 8,000 parking spaces in 2018

Developers paid over €10 million in fines for not providing parking spaces on new developments

A protest in Sliema in 2016 agaist Planning Authority decisions and over-development. Sliema is the second-highest town when it comes to denied parking spaces from new developments
A protest in Sliema in 2016 agaist Planning Authority decisions and over-development. Sliema is the second-highest town when it comes to denied parking spaces from new developments

The Planning Authority approved a staggering 2,501 permits which failed to provide for a demand of 8,021 new parking spaces, a factor set to result in increased congestion in these localities in the coming years.

In turn developers paid €10,350,317 in lieu of the parking spaces they failed to provide, to either the Urban Improvement Fund or to the Commuters Parking Provisions System (CPPS), both of which are administrated by the PA.

St Paul’s Bay emerges as the locality which has seen the largest number of new parking spaces not catered for by the permits approved last year. 202 such permits were approved in this locality. In lieu of the 789 parking spaces which were not provided for, developers paid €981,740.

The other top localities with the largest number of parking spaces which have not been provided in permits issued last year for were St Julian’s (589), Sliema (516), Birkirkara (404), Msida (367), Gzira (348), Mosta (275), Qormi (259) and Marsaskala (250).

The parking shortage problem is set to be more acute in the ninth and tenth electoral districts where a total of 2229 parking spaces are not catered for by developments approved in 2018. These represent 28% of parking spaces not catered for in developments approved last year.

Smaller residential towns like Attard, Naxxar, Pieta and San Gwann, Zabbar, Luqa also feature among localities in which permits issued in 2018 have created a shortage of over 100 parking spaces.

In Gozo the parking shortage was most acute in Victoria and Zebbug where 123 and 124 parking spaces respectively were not provided for in developments approved last year.  Overall 392 parking spaces in Gozo were not catered for in approved developments.

The CPPS and UIF funds are financed directly by fees paid by developers, businesses and shop-owners to MEPA if they are unable to provide the required parking facilities for their projects – for example, underground garages for a block of apartments.

The fees apply to all developments when a change of use of an existing building carries a higher parking requirement, for example change of use from a shop to a restaurant or bar. The fee is also charged when a developer builds additional floors on top of an existing building. Fees are also paid by restaurants who take parking spaces when establishing an outside catering area.

In 2018 the PA introduced a three-tier rate system whereby a one-car space not provided for would cost the developer €2,500.

From the third to the ninth car space not provided for on site, the developer has to make a contribution of €6,000 per car space. From the tenth car space upwards, a €10,000 contribution per car space is imposed.

While 70% of the generated fees are directed towards the locality-based Development Planning Fund, the remaining 30% are directed towards green transport proposals called the Island-wide Green Transport Fund (IGTF).

The new system replaced fees established in the 1990s which differentiated between those localities which were part of the Commuters Parking Provisions System (CPPS) and those that were part of the Urban Improvement Fund (UIF) system. Previously a developer who did not provide parking on site within a CPPS area had to make a contribution of €2,096 per car space which was not provided for. Within those localities which were part of the UIF system, a developer was requested to pay €1,164.68 per car space.

In 2018, more than €4.5 million worth of projects were financed by PA funds, a figure far higher than the annual contracted amount for any particular year of PA/MEPA funding since 2003. The funds can be used for a variety of local projects like parking facilities, public transport, sustainable travelling modes, gardens and landscaping areas, playing fields, traffic  management schemes, street lighting and furniture,  restoration projects, energy efficient buildings, public  conveniences and facilities for the disabled.

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