[WATCH] ‘Marsa stables aren’t homes,’ Planning Authority clamps down on illegal change-of-use

Planning Authority representatives confirmed the arrest of 47 migrants who had been residing illegally in squalid conditions in Marsa stables
 

Residents were still collecting their things and packing up as police officers escorted them outside (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Residents were still collecting their things and packing up as police officers escorted them outside (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

An illegal change-of-use from stables to residences alerted the Planning Authority to stables on Triq il-Gerrejja in Marsa where around a hundred migrants had made their home. 

One of the owners of these stables admitted with members of the media to charging each resident €100 per month but subsequently claimed that these makshift rooms were up to standard. 

A large part of the building was still expressly utilised as a stable (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
A large part of the building was still expressly utilised as a stable (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

A visit to these former stables revealed that horses and mules still shared occupancy with their human tenants. Makeshift clotheslines were strung up on the facade, the rooms were crowded, small and dark. 

"It's a known fact that a person should not be living in these conditions. These stables aren't homes. Our purpose is to stop this abuse; everyone has the right to a certain level of dignity. We will keep monitoring this site to ensure that this abuse stops," Charles Gafa said.

A lack of cleanliness was evident (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
A lack of cleanliness was evident (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Gafa is the Planning Authority's Direct Action Officer and was accompanied by members of the Rapid Intervention Unit, the Health Department, members of the Immigration Office and private contractors in a joint operation on Wednesday morning that resulted in the arrest of 47 residents.

These people were transported to the Police Headquarters. Officers confirmed with MaltaToday that their resident permits were being scrutinised.

Skips with all kinds of refuse, from mattresses to bovine manure, line the property (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Skips with all kinds of refuse, from mattresses to bovine manure, line the property (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

"We hope that this kind of activity doesn't carry on. It doesn't do any good to the residents or the authorities concerned," Gafa said.

The stable-turned-residences are just a few away from the LIDL supermarket and the Marsa Park and Ride.

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