Court revokes permits for Joseph Portelli flats, already built and sold

The Planning Authority is in a new fix on what to do with three developments in Gozo it permitted and which the Court of Appeal has now ruled are illegal.

The decision to revoke the permits cannot be appealed and the illegal developments must be removed. Yet the blocks of flats in Qala and Sannat have already been entirely built and sold.

The situation may lead to legal cases being filed by the apartment owners against the Planning Authority and the developers —Joseph Portelli, Mark Agius, known as Ta’ Dirjanu, and Daniel Refalo.

In three separate decisions delivered by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti, following appeals by Din l-Art Helwa and Moviment Graffitti, the court said that parts of the developments, involving large ODZ pools and extra floors, were completely illegal and permitted by the Planning Authority in breach of its policies and laws.

The Chief Justice declared the permits illegal and “absurd”.

The first case concerns a large development in Qala, better known as Hal-Wardija. The court declared that an ODZ area of 10,000 square metres, which had been turned into two large pools and gardens, was illegal.

The court said the Planning Commission, headed by Martin Camilleri, should never have approved this permit since local plans state no pools can be built in the area.

Since it was declared illegal, the development will eventually have to be removed.

Those who bought the apartments in Qala invested in the properties on the premise—now false—that they would be able to spend time at the communal pools and gardens that complement their apartments. The court’s decisions will necessarily impact their investments.

Two other cases involve two blocks of apartments out of the four already built. The court ruled that an extra floor built consisting of penthouses was also illegal. Those penthouses fetched the highest selling price of both blocks.

Sannat – The top floor has been declared illegal.

The court ruled that the Planning Authority and the Environmental and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT), headed by architect David Mifsud Parker, again ‘misinterpreted’ the rules to issue the necessary permits for Portelli and his associates.

In both cases, the court declared that the two blocks had an illegal extra top floor, and the pools built to complement the developments were also illegal. They, too, will need to be removed.

Story repeats itself

This is not the first time the Planning Authority has been found guilty of issuing permits found to be illegal by the courts after the development had been completed and sold.

The latest case was only a few months ago when a development in Xewkija by Francesco Grima, known as il-Gigu and a close associate of Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri, was declared illegal by the court.

Another development by Francesco Grima in Gozo that the court found included an illegal top floor.

Grima’s block also included a top floor that the Planning Authority permitted but that the court later ruled illegal.

Another example involves a pool Minister Ian Borg built in Santa Katerina, a hamlet near Rabat. The court also ruled the permit illegal. So far, the PA has not ordered any direct action to remove the minister’s illegal development.

                           

Sign up to our newsletter

Stay in the know

Get special updates directly in your inbox
Don't worry we do not spam
                           
                               
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

22 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jools Seizure
Jools Seizure
1 month ago

In all probability, there will be no enforcement which will make the court’s decision completely ineffectual and a waste of time and money. The developers were prepared for this and do not care. Oh what a justice system we have in Malta! The underlying message is, do what you like because the whole country has sunk into anarchy.

Joseph
Joseph
30 days ago
Reply to  Jools Seizure

We have a clear case of the pool and parking at the Marriott Hotel, St. Julians where Caqnu Polidano just bulldozed over the court judgment to stop works, carried on, finished, and was fined the price of a 1 car garage and everything sanctioned.
A proper Mafia state

Winston Smith
Winston Smith
1 month ago

Portelli does, what Portelli pleases, and despite his wanton disregard to the law or environment he is granted government contracts which further destroy our environment. A case in point is Marsalforn road which shall be widened to simply accommodate future development. In a twist out of Robin Hood the government with Portelli’s aid shall steal from the poor to give to the rich. And yet the majority the people’s representatives remain silently complicit.

Joseph
Joseph
30 days ago
Reply to  Winston Smith

It seems Portelli is very close to Caqnu Polidano..they are always involved in the same projects …probably intimate contacts have been passed on

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
1 month ago

The uppermost question now is: What next for the P.A?

The only reasonable answer expected is: Resign or, by all means, be thrown out!

Daniel
Daniel
28 days ago

Resign? Shouldn’t they also be prosecuted?

Robert
Robert
1 month ago

Authorities should not provide electricity and water services to these illegal developments

Karmenu Psaila
Karmenu Psaila
1 month ago

Action needs to be taken especially now that 2 elections are coming ,and if no actions are taken then no vote. No one should be allowed to break the law especially those elected by us.

Reality
Reality
1 month ago

And now what? Jahasra x-poplu gwejjef ghandna.

Joseph
Joseph
1 month ago

A country of Gods and Plebs

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
1 month ago
Reply to  Joseph

Actually a country of gods and animals – according to a labour ‘sage’.

cliff jones
cliff jones
29 days ago
Reply to  Joseph

And criminals

G Mizzi
G Mizzi
1 month ago

These judgements undermine confidence in the property sector as an investment. The market value of the apartments declared illegal will find it difficult, if not impossible, to sell their properties. Future investors should beware.

D M Briffa
D M Briffa
1 month ago

Huge thanks to Din l’Art Helwa, Moviment Graffitti, their lawyers and the judges in the Court of Appeal.

Maria Aquilina
Maria Aquilina
1 month ago

Bil- fors kien jaf Portelli,li jibni,u mbghad naraw.Issa li gie iddikjarat illegali x’ ser isir? U min xtara ,x’ ser tkun il- pozizjoni tieghu? Sejjer jobbing Porte ol- qorti u jnehhi? U ma tarax! La l- kbar jaghmlu li jridu,ghaliex iz- zghir le?

Farrugia A
Farrugia A
1 month ago

What happened to the xewkija case? Anything will change. Development is still going on

Gerald
Gerald
1 month ago

So now what? Demolish? When it comes to humans, seeing is believing.

Joseph
Joseph
30 days ago

Nothing will happen..he will be handed a silly fine, and life goes on business as usual..

FRANK VELLA
FRANK VELLA
29 days ago

Get jp to sort out the mess by abiding to the sentence imposed.

Pauline Zahra
Pauline Zahra
29 days ago

What’s new? And what is being done. Absolutely nothing. Complaints biss

Charles Falzon, Sliema
Charles Falzon, Sliema
29 days ago

This goes to prove that the “planning” authority, eprt [small caps intended] are institutions corrupt to the core.
ALL THOSE INVOLVED IN BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS TAKING THESE CROOKED DECISIONS SHOULD BE HELD PERSONALLY LIABLE FOR DAMAGES, [FINANCIAL AND OTHERWISE]; CHARGED FOR PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT; AND MADE TO RESIGN THEIR POSITIONS.

Ray Farrugia
Ray Farrugia
26 days ago

Declared illegal by the courts as it did for the swimming pool by Dr Ian Borg. TWICE. In the meantime it is still there and being used. And his leader the Prime Minister does nothing about it rendering himself an accomplice. But what do they care about the rule of law when it affects them!

Related Stories

Latest Project Green marketing effort to promote disgraced CEO backfires
A new marketing campaign to promote the recent appointment
Comino deckchairs: minister issues third extension without tender
Aqra bil-Malti Despite promising to take action, Tourism Minister

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo