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Joseph Portelli has personally asked the Planning Authority to sanction illegal excavation works which have been taking place in ODZ land in Qala.

This comes after illegal works were continued, even after Portelli was presented with an enforcement notice and works were halted by the PA.

Portelli had also previously admitted that he was wrong to carry out works on an outside development zone site in Qala, saying that he would “gladly pay a fine” over the works.

No permit had been issued for the works being carried out, which are taking place next to Portelli’s controversial apartment block project in Ta’ Kassja.

The Planning Authority had also confirmed that no fines were dished out for the illegal works.

The development is being opposed by a large number of residents, as well as civil society groups, all of whom have expressed their despair at the fact that nobody appears to be able, or willing, to enforce the law with Portelli.

The 64 flat-project has been opposed by the Qala Local Council and two environmental NGOs, Moviment Graffitti and Din L-Art Helwa, for which they filed an appeal.

An Environmental Impact Assessment was never carried out for the proposed development prior to issuing the permit, even though the site exceeds 30,000 sqm of land.

The Environment and Planning tribunal had also rejected the organisations’ and residents’ requests to suspend the works until the appeal hearing is decided.

The disputed project is part of an entire saga involving Carravan Company Limited, which has been serving as a medium in the transfer and reselling of land. The company was set up back in 2017, making €1.5 million from last May’s sales alone.

Check out Lovin Malta’s Planning Web, the country’s first transparent and open platform letting you look at the ins and outs of Malta’s urban planning sector.

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