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Construction work on a Qala site partly outside the development zone has continued despite a Planning Authority order to stop.

Last week, Lovin Malta reported about excavation work on a site in Qala known as Ta’ Kassja which is currently being developed by construction magnate Joseph Portelli.

The illegal works were flagged by Moviment Graffitti on 12th October, with the Planning Authority confirming that Portelli had not sought a permit for the works, which were ordered to stop.

The development will see the construction of 164 apartments in a sprawling residential complex complete with a pool area. The development has been applied for through four separate applications in a bid to reduce scrutiny.

In a post this afternoon, Movement Graffitti said that Qala mayor Paul Buttigieg had confirmed that Portelli had continued with illegal works on the site. 

“So far it is unclear whether the Planning Authority has stopped the works, despite the fact that it admitted that part of the excavation had been carried out illegally,” the pressure group said. 

The activists took aim at Portelli, who they accused of attacking Buttigieg in a recent interview. Buttigieg has led opposition to a number of Portelli’s projects in the locality and surrounding areas. 

In comments to the Times of Malta this morning, Buttigieg noted that Qala residents were becoming increasingly irritated with the lack of respect for the locality’s natural beauty and identity. 

Buttigieg said that the council had submitted its objections to the PA in May, having to fork out €4,000 in the process. However, it was only given a December hearing, with Portelli continuing with work in the meantime.

Movement Graffitti said it was clear that after his interview some weeks ago, Portelli was now looking to pay back the Qala local council and residents in what is “another show of his limitless arrogance”. 

At the same time, the group said, the PA continued to drag its feet and avoid enforcing the law. Movement Graffiti pointed the finger at Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia, who it accused of being servile to the construction industry.  

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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