Business associates of developer Joseph Portelli have filed a planning application to construct a road through four parcels of arable land in Għajnsielem, Gozo, paving the way for development projects adjacent to a new road.
The planning control application, filed last December by Mark Agius, delineates a road extension to a currently existing cul-de-sac which would pass through four different parcels of land, only one of which is owned by the developers.
The application, PC/79/22, filed by Agius and architect Alexander Bigeni, has been opposed by the Għajnsielem Local Council, who cited a harmful “impact on the character and amenity of the area,” breaching planning and environmental policy objectives.
The local council’s objection, filed last August, notes, “There is no confirmation accessible to the public that shows that the required consent from other owners of the site has been obtained.”
In the public application form for the proposal, Agius declared himself a partial owner of the entire site, offering no information on other landowners that would be affected by the plan.
The project’s architect, Alexander Bigeni, filed the proposal as a Planning Control application, which regulates land use, layout of streets and building heights, but not buildings.
Portelli’s web of associates and partners
The Shift has reported how Agius, known as Ta Dirjanu, is a business partner of developer Joseph Portelli, collaborating on several major projects, such as the long-promised reconstruction of the Msida primary school.
Architect Alexander Bigeni regularly works with Portelli and was associated with at least five applications to develop livestock farms in ODZ areas in Gozo, forming part of a group of five Labour Party-linked architects with an application approval rate of more than 90% since 2013.
On Wednesday, NGO Moviment Graffitti spoke about another of Bigeni’s projects for Portelli, saying the architect is leaving “a legacy of destruction in Gozo”.
The comments followed a “farcical” Planning Authority hearing on an application forming part of a Qala project to build “a massive complex of around 200 apartments rife with illegalities and controversy”.
Last Month, The Shift also reported how environmental NGO Din L-Art Ħelwa slammed a planning proposal for constructing another cul-de-sac road in Fontana, Gozo, calling it a “road to nowhere.”
That project’s architect, Saviour Micallef, also worked on several projects with Portelli, having served as an architect for Agius and Portelli on the infamous Sannat development, labelled a “monstrosity” by NGOs opposing its development.
Representations against the recently proposed Għajnsielem cul-de-sac closed last August, with the application now awaiting a Planning Authority survey before its approval or dismissal.