The Planning Commission has decided to suspend and postpone the application of Chloe Portelli, the 24-year old daughter of Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli, to build an agriculture store in a panoramic ODZ setting to sell her produce.
Portelli, who describes herself as General Manager of her father’s Quaint Hotel chain, is supposedly tilling some 18 tumoli of land became ‘a farmer’ and applied for a permit for a 20 square metre store in the fields of Nadur.
The reason for the Planning Commission’s decision is that Portelli submitted another application on the same land, known as Ġebel l-Aħmar, for the sanctioning of stretches of newly built rubble walls, built illegally over the past months.
The Commission said it did not make sense to first decide on Portelli’s store and the sanctioning application later, as these are part of the same project and should be decided at the same time.
Illegal works on large stretches of agricultural land in a sensitive area, just underneath Nadur’s iconic Ta’ Kenuna Tower, have been ongoing for the last year.
Large construction trucks belonging to J Portelli Projects have been depositing rubble along the fields as dozens of workers, mostly migrants, have been seen building high rubble walls.
Work on the walls was carried out without a permit. Following months of reports, an enforcement notice was issued by the Planning Authority ordering that all work be stopped.
The work continued and the walls were completed.
The 24-year-old daughter of Portelli, a developer responsible for a number of controversial projects in Malta and Gozo, claims to own the land as a farmer. Officially, Portelli is her father’s general manager at his hotel chain, called Quant, and hospitality manager at J Portelli Projects.
The environment watchdog has already opposed her application to sanction her illegally-built rubble walls.
Stressing that the site in question is designated as an Area of High Landscape Sensitivity, the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) noted that “in the light of environmentally-inconsiderate works already observed so far, there is significant concern relating to defacement of the affected rural landscape”.
ERA said that considering that the site is situated in an area visible from long distances, “both the existing physical interventions carried out on site together with the proposed development that is being proposed through another separate planning application (agricultural store for arable farming) raises significant environmental concerns in particular through visual intrusion and would have a significant cumulative impact on the surrounding rural environment”.