Earlier this morning the Malta Environment and Planning Authority was notified to cut short its direct action operations on a building which was illegally developed in an ODZ area, known as Wied Betti in the limits of Gudja, following a mandate that was presented to the Courts by the land owner’s lawyer.
Last year, the Authority had issued a stop and enforcement notice on this site after Mepa enforcement officers observed building works in this rural area, and following investigations found out that an old building had been demolished and was being rebuilt as a residence without a permit. In the same month, the land owner submitted a planning application. During the processing of this application, the Authority continued to monitor the site. During one of its random inspections it was noted that the owner started building a first floor in breach of the stop and enforcement notice. The land owner advised the Authority that he was not aware that works had continued and that he was going to take immediate action to stop works.
Enforcement officers carried out a further inspection and it resulted that works still had not stopped. Following this, the Enforcement Unit according to adopted procedures, requested the Development Control Commission to dismiss the planning application on this site. The DCC dismissed the application given that the stop and enforcement notice was being breached.
Consequently, after being informed that direct action was imminent unless the illegalities were removed, the site owner demolished the first floor but insisted on keeping the illegal ground floor building, reservoir and construction material around the site. Although these legal manoeuvres continue to impede the Authority from carrying out its work, Mepa remains committed with its efforts to curb illegal development. The Authority will now eagerly await whether or not the Courts will accept or turn down the land owner’s mandate.