Planning Authority sanctions Joseph Portelli’s illegal ODZ pools in Qala

In spite of clear breach of planning laws and multiple objections, the Authority’s Board approves development, insists it is in line with the law

 

A planning application to sanction the illegal excavation of two swimming pools in an Outside Development Zone (ODZ) area in Qala that form part of a large, 164 apartment block developed by Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli has been approved by the Planning Authority (PA).

Following months of deferrals from the PA and subsequent minor amendments to the application, Portelli’s two swimming pools have now been officially sanctioned by the PA, meaning that the developer will incur a fine to legalise works carried out without a permit

Qala’s local council, led by mayor Paul Buttigieg, reiterated the locality’s objections to the sanctioning of the illegal works carried out on behalf of Excel Investments Ltd, a company owned by Portelli and his associates.

Buttigieg called on the PA to refuse the application because of the way extensive excavation works were carried out without approval, stating that “enough is enough”.

NGOs Moviment Graffitti, Din L-Art Ħelwa and Friends of the Earth Malta also supported the local council’s efforts to convince the PA to refuse the application, which was the fifth related to the project.

While Moviment Graffitti activist Claria Cutajar represented the NGO’s submissions, Din L-Art Ħelwa and Friends of the Earth Malta were represented by environmental lawyer Claire Bonello, who lambasted the board for going against the spirit of policies from the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED).

While activists and residents insisted on the fact that the project was spread out over five different PA applications to minimise scrutiny and circumvent planning requirements for major projects, the PA’s board insisted that such a process does not automatically mean the project was approved in piecemeal fashion.

In spite of hundreds of objections to the illegal works, the PA’s Board, chaired by Martin Camilleri, refuted the arguments raised by Buttigieg as well as representatives of the NGOs when the decision to approve was taken earlier on Tuesday.

In particular, Camilleri refuted accusations from objectors about the Board’s failure to adhere to its own policies and taking decisions that go against the spirit of regulations meant to preserve the rural environment.

While the chair acknowledged that excavation works being carried out without a permit were not acceptable, Camilleri insisted that the Board’s remit extends to evaluating applications based on the laws at hand and that the Board is obliged to consider the sanctioning request.

Consequentially, Camilleri argued, given that the building was within the development scheme, that the architect for the project, Alexander Bigeni, had acquiesced to partially reinstating land which was excavated excessively, and that mitigation measures were taken, the development is acceptable.

The Gozitan developer behind the project has consistently come under fire for his projects, which often dwarf their surroundings in scale and size and have often been heavily opposed by residents and environmental activists.

On 27 July, following The Shift’s reports about the sale of apartments in Portelli’s Jerma project without any valid permits in hand for the development, the Marsascala Residents’ Network and local councillor John Baptist Camilleri voiced their staunch opposition to the project.

The residents’ group told The Shift that the massive project envisaged by Portelli for the Jerma site “is yet again another case of a project that is being set before permits are given, where speculation is rife, and the pressure on the PA to approve before public consultation is enormous”.

                           
                               
guest
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ġwanni Fenek
Ġwanni Fenek
1 day ago

Whoever said that “crime doesn’t pay” has clearly never met our Gozitan Boy Wonder.

It pays to be corrupt in Mafialand.

Judy
Judy
1 hour ago
Reply to  Ġwanni Fenek

Do you think his name is being used by some big heads as a front ?

KLAUS
KLAUS
1 day ago

In the US, many people had a very strong backbone (stand to their oath) and saved democracy and justice.

What I see here on Malta are persons I would not want to meet in private:
persons with great excuses and absolutely no decency.

I wonder if Joseph Portelli is due for another dinner with ROBBER Abela here, with big “little favours” exchanged?

Bruno
Bruno
23 hours ago

Now it is clear why Robert Abela met Joseph Portelli just before the elections over a secret dinner in Gozo.

Bamboccu
Bamboccu
22 hours ago

Poplu staqsi lilek innifsek.
Min hu l Alla ta’ dan il pajjiz?
Risposta wahda.
Joseph Portelli.

Last edited 22 hours ago by Bamboccu
KLAUS
KLAUS
22 hours ago
Reply to  Bamboccu
Jien ma nadurax allat foloz, inħobb wisq lil Malta għal hekk!


I do not worship false gods, I love Malta too much for that!

M.Galea
M.Galea
21 hours ago
Reply to  Bamboccu

Kemm ghandek zball! Joseph Portelli juri biss ismu! Mieghu ghandu l rjus kbar jinhbew warajh! U naf x jien nghid!

Judy
Judy
1 hour ago
Reply to  M.Galea

I have been thinking that too

M.Galea
M.Galea
22 hours ago

Gzira gabuha mizbla! Tal misthija!

Cikku l-Ghawdxi
Cikku l-Ghawdxi
22 hours ago

Il-klieb il-bahar telghu l-art. min irid jifhem, ha jifhem habib.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
20 hours ago

“Bazwar ftiit ‘l hawn u bazwar ftit ‘l hemm”

U dak l’hu llegali bil-permess ser jintemm.

(With acknowledgement to you know who)

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
5 hours ago

The current state of affairs in Malta are so in peril that no one seems able to stop this atrocity from continuing to happen and though changing it for good. We are being run over by the Mafia and soon Malta will become a Mafia state, attracting more criminals to do dirty business here than in any other country around the world.

Related Stories

Government launches new attempt to cripple The Shift with FOI appeals
The government has launched its latest coordinated campaign attempting
A €49 million misfire: AFM’s P71 vessel two years late, €13.9 million over budget
An offshore patrol vessel commissioned by the Armed Forces

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo