Planning Authority earns €42.5 million from regularisation scheme, so far

The Planning Authority has so far raked in over €42.5 million so far from the controversial planning amnesty scheme since its launch in August 2016, according to figures tabled in Parliament this week.

The scheme allowed people to apply to sanction planning illegalities against a fee.  It was widely criticised because it would allow for the regularisation of illegalities against payment.

Those payments are intended for use by local councils for projects aimed at bettering their localities, but detractors argue that illegalities across the country are being sanctioned in return for funds that should, in reality, be provided by the central government.

The fees collected go into the Planning Authority’s Development Planning Fund, which local councils can use for community projects.

The regularisation scheme, until recently, excluded the regularisation of Outside Development Zone developments but included illegalities carried out within the development zone – including urban conservation areas – that were committed before 2016.

It was also widely criticised because the fees were calculated according to the roof area of the property in question and not by the seriousness of the planning contravention.

In May, the Planning Authority said it had received over 19,500 applications for the scheme and, according to information tabled by Planning Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, the vast majority of those applications were approved.

Zrinzo Azzopardi, in fact, published a list of the regularisation applications that had been approved, which totalled over 18,500. The list also included a short description of the regularisation approved.

Zrinzo Azzopardi has also published the entire list of over 18,000 applications that have been approved, which can be found here.

Since its launch in late 2016, the regularisation scheme has brought in a total of €42,523,450 in application fees. 2018 saw the largest revenue streams with €10,720,000 being collected. €8.6 million was collected in 2018 and €8.8 million in 2019.

The fees collected so far from the pre-2016 regularisation scheme application fees.

The Planning Authority Development Planning Fund is now set for another boon with the new, recently-enacted regularisation scheme allowing for the regularisation of possibly thousands of developments that were built partially within Outside Development Zones.

Another list of the Development Planning Funds’ money reserved for local councils published by Azzopardi, following a ‘friendly’ parliamentary question from Labour MP Chris Agius, shows the Fund to have a current surplus of €34.9 million.

The largest amount, €3.7 million, is reserved for St Julian’s, which is followed by Victoria (€2 million), Gzira (€1.7 million), Mosta (€1.5 million), Marsascala (€1.2 million), Birzebbuga (€1.1 million), Mellieha (€1 million) and Naxxar (€1 million).

The amounts include local council projects that have already been contracted as well as those in the pipeline. The list does not specify what the contracts are.

That surplus is now expected to rise drastically with the new regularisation scheme for developments that are partially outside development zones.

According to a group of NGOs opposing the new scheme, it will “allow developers who have repeatedly ignored ODZ boundaries to get legal approval for the daylight robbery of non-developed spaces.

“With this amendment, we are set to see legal approval for thousands of additional illegal developments.”

Seven environmental organisations have filed a judicial protest against the recently-introduced Legal Notice allowing the regularisation of Outside Development Zone illegalities.

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Mary Rose
Mary Rose
2 months ago

Mizura tajba biex l-ekonomija tibqa b’sahhita. Dhul mil-qerq!

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