The Gozo Ministry has carried out illegal construction work on horse stables on the island’s Ta’ Xhajma racecourse and it is now asking the Planning Authority to sanction it only after it was exposed.
Amidst rampant construction abuse all over Malta’s sister island, the Gozo Ministry gave orders for several horse stables forming part of the government-managed horse racing course to be demolished to make way for new ones.
But instead of first seeking a Planning Authority development permit, demolition work was carried out illegally. The ministry has now applied to sanction the illegal work and to build additional new stables.
Following questions from Gozitan Opposition MP Chris Said, Minister Camilleri justified the illegal demolition work by saying it was urgent because the stables had become dangerous.
The Shift is informed that just a day before demolition started, the stables were being used to house several horses and their jockeys, who were not informed that they were apparently risking life and limb.
The minister also declined, when pressed, to publish the dangerous structure (DS) permit that the PA is required to issue before any such demolition.
Shortly after Said’s parliamentary quizzing and the illegalities were made public, a new application was filed by the ministry’s architect Godwin Sultana to “sanction the demolition of dangerous structures and rebuild stables”.
The PA has so far not given the ministry the permit and has asked the government first produce a Project Description Statement.
While not objecting to the permit, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage on its part made it clear that the ministry had carried out the works illegally.
“This development application is for the sanctioning of works not covered by a development permit, as well as for interventions associated with the works proposed for sanctioning. The sanctioning or otherwise of such works falls under the responsibility of the Planning Authority, and is to be treated within its procedures,” the Superintendence said.
The Shift is informed that the demolition work, carried on the instructions of Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri, has already cost close to €250,000. It was contracted to Elzan Construction, which is owned by Gozitan Francesco Grima.