Owners of abandoned Jerma hotel have to clear the mess but building may stand

Jerma owners have 30 days to inform Planning Authority how they intend to remove the damage caused to the environment by the derelict building after the court rejected their appeal against an enforcement order

The abandoned Jerma hotel in Marsaskala has turned into a dump and a den of abuse
The abandoned Jerma hotel in Marsaskala has turned into a dump and a den of abuse

The owners of the abandoned Jerma hotel in Marsaskala have 30 days to outline how they intend to remove “the damage” caused to the environment by the derelict building.

They will have to submit a method statement to the Planning Authority after the appeals court this week threw out their appeal against an enforcement order.

The court ruling delivered by Mr Justice Mark Chetcuti indicates that the enforcement order may not require the developers to demolish the Jerma but will have to remove the damage caused as a result of the building being abandoned.

The Jerma hotel building turned into a dump and a den of abuse after it was abandoned. It is currently an eyesore.

The court dismissed the appeal by JPM Brothers against the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal decision, which had confirmed an enforcement order issued by the PA requiring them to remove the “harm” caused to the environment by the derelict hotel structure.

But the court ruling did not go into the merits of how this harm can be removed while specifying that the enforcement deals “with the removal of the harm caused to the area through its appearance and not the construction itself.”

The owners had disputed the enforcement order arguing that the authority was acting beyond its powers by asking them to “remove the damage” when it should have asked them to “minimise” it.

But in his judgment, Chetcuti specified that the removal of the harm to the amenity can only be achieved “through the mitigation of the negative impacts of the building on the beauty of the area”, adding that it would have been “a different issue had the Authority called for the removal of the building but this was clearly not the case”.

When confirming the PA’s enforcement order, the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal had given the developers 30 days to present a method statement aimed at “minimising” damage caused by the Jerma development to Marsaskala’s coastline. 

The Planning Authority is currently considering an application for the demolition of the existing derelict four-star Jerma hotel and its redevelopment as a high-rise development consisting of 166 apartments and a 250-room hotel. The proposed project includes a high-rise building, which will include residential units, spread over 13 floors, and a hotel, which will rise to 15 floors.

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