Planning Authority approves Joseph Portelli’s Sannat ‘monstrosity’

The final application out of three that will form a 125-apartments-development just over 300 metres from the edge of Sannat cliffs was approved by the Planning Authority on Friday.

The approved application consists of 73 flats and 60 garages by applicant Mark Agius – a partner of controversial developer Joseph Portelli. The Shift revealed last April that the development will ultimately result in a three-stage, larger development. The two other applications have already been approved by the commission, despite the Planning Authority’s case officer having recommended them for refusal.

The three members of the board, Stephania Baldacchino, Mirielle Fsadni and Anthony Camilleri approved the permit, despite an onslaught of objections.

In a statement, NGO Moviment Graffiti said the approval was made after “a long list of irregularities from the Planning Authority, who bent over backwards to give Joseph Portelli and his friends what they want”.

The nature of how the development was divided into three separate applications is illegal, the NGO said, done “in order to evade studies that are necessary for large projects”. However, “the Planning Authority continued processing the application as if nothing happened”.

In a post on Facebook, Flimkien għal Ambjent Ahjar co-founder Astrid Vella called the project a “monstrosity” that “jars with Gozitan village landscapes”.

“One objector testified about how he was approached to buy one of the flats last year, and told that half were already sold, so sure were the developers that the permit was assured”.

Chairman Stefania Baldacchino, she said, refused to acknowledge that the Planning Authority is responsible to look into such things.

The Shift had reported that marketing for the initial 22 flats began in August 2020, five days after Agius’ application was ‘validated’ by the Planning Authority. The flyer for the block of flats, named Ħal Saguna after the area, bore the logos of the three associate companies belonging to Joseph Portelli, the brothers Mark and Joseph Agius, and Daniel Refalo respectively. The flats were being sold before the permit for the block was issued.

The flats are just over 300 metres from the edge of the cliffs where Birdlife International warns about the effects of intensifying light pollution, and noise pollution to a lesser extent, on one of the largest colonies of nesting shearwaters in the Mediterranean.

The cliffs are an Internationally Important Bird Area (IBA), and Birdlife has identified “residential and commercial development” in the surroundings as a “high threat” to the IBA.


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Ġwanni Fenek
Ġwanni Fenek
2 years ago

M’hemmx tmiem għal dil-korruzzjoni kollha.

2 years ago

Stop taking loans to aquire this garbage of appartments making good for more! Kull ma qed taghmlu hu li tpaxxu l izviluppaturi!

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