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Posted on: 24/01/2007

mepa officesThe Malta Environment and Planning Authority this morning started the demolition of an illegal building in Triq l-Imdina, Zebbug. The illegality mainly consisted of various works without the necessary permit.

The operation started early this morning where MEPA officials, assisted by members of the Police Force and the Armed Forces went on site to remove the illegal structures.The presence and help of the Armed Forces was necessary as no private contractor was willing to render the service of removing this illegal structure.

The actual demolition was undertaken by the members of the Armed Forces. The intervention of the police was indispensable to the operation as the developer put up great resistance. Certain individuals barricaded themselves in the illegal structure, continuously out threats to MEPA officials and other personnel assisting in the operation.

Scuffles with the Police ensued and members of the Police Force were assaulted, some even had to be treated for injuries. Arrests were made individuals were arraigned in court. The Armed Forces' Bomb Disposal Unit also checked the property for safety.

The demolition is scheduled to continue as the work is not envisaged to be finalized over one session.

History of site

· The site was originally inspected by MEPA on 28/10/2004 following anonymous complaints.

· Site was being illegally used as a place for the keeping / selling of vehicles, cars and other objects. A structure roofed over with precast slabs (planki) was also constructed as an extension to the existing building. A room and another structure on top of it were also illegal. No permits were sought for this.

· Developer was contacted and Stop & Enforcement Notice ECF 921/04 was issued on 12/11/2004 .

· No application / appeal against enforcement were submitted, the case was referred for Direct Action on 23/02/05 in line with procedures.

· The developer was notified on 11/03/2005 that the case was listed for direct action. They were officially informed that MEPA may enter the site and remove the illegal structures without any further notice.

· On 27/9/05 further construction works in breach of the active Stop / Enforcement notice were noted.

· Site was inspected on various other occasions and more works at first floor level were noted. A Police fixed point was later arranged on site to ensure works stoppage. However as soon as the Police monitoring ceased, the developer continued further works.