“We need to draw the line on sanctioning in ODZ.” these were the opening words of MEPA Chairman, Mr Austin Walker, when introducing the session in which 17 planning applications seeking to sanction boathouses in Dwejra were to be decided. In that session, the MEPA Board turned down 11 planning applications that sought permission to sanction illegal works pertaining to the construction or extension of works for boathouses in Dwejra.
A further three applications for the sanctioning of illegal extensions to existing boathouses were deferred by the Board on condition that all illegal structures after 1967 are to be removed prior to them appearing once again before the Board.
The Board also refused the request for the reduction of the planning gain imposed on a permit that had been issued in 2008. One of these 17 applications, to sanction works, was withdrawn by the applicant, now obliging him to remove any illegal structure.
A separate application within the Dwejra area, for the change of use of an existing summer residence into a diving centre was deferred until a site inspection is carried out by an appointed architect to verify that works carried out on this site are in effect related to the removal of dangerous structures and the shoring up of the building.
Sending out a clear message, Mr Austin Walker said, “we cannot afford any longer to approve applications in outside development Zones (ODZs) that seek to get a permit for works that have been carried out illegally.” he added, “we need to draw the line, and I hope that today’s decisions will clearly show the public that this Board will not tolerate the illegal abuse of land, especially in ODZ areas.”