The Planning Authority has reversed its decision to demolish an illegal structure in the Gozo countryside and has now decided to regularise it despite objections by the Environment and Resources Authority.
The room built illegally in the countryside in San Lawrenz, Gozo was legalised simply because the structure existed on the same site before 1978.
Just two years ago the Planning Authority had issued an enforcement notice against the illegal room ordering its demolition.
The room was build illegally after 1968 as it is not found on survey sheets issued before that date but was illegally extended after 1978. No permit was ever issued for the structure in question.
On Tuesday, the Planning Authority decided to accept an application to regularise the construction of a new concrete roof on the structure which replaced a corrugated sheet roof.
In so doing the authority accepted the legality of the room but limited its size to 24 square metres – the same size occupied by the room which appears in aerial photos taken in 1978.
The owner has been ordered to remove the 12 square metre extension made in more recent years.
The legalisation of the room is the result of the blanket legalisation of all rural structures constructed before 1978 as dictated by the rural policy approved in 2014.
The Environment and Resources Authority had strongly objected to the development. In its report ERA had noted that it also appears that a number of other structures on other agricultural parcels are registered on the applicant’s name, thus questioning the need for this structure.
The legalisation of ODZ structures has given them new market value as these can now be legally sold.