I am often asked whether obtaining a planning permit is possible when a similar permit has been granted in the nearby area. People believe that justice should prevail and that the same rules should apply to everyone. It is difficult for them to comprehend why a permit can be granted to someone else but not to them.

Many individuals argue that if a permit is not granted, it could be a case of discrimination. It is widely accepted that justice must be transparent and discriminatory actions are not acceptable. Therefore, the denial of a permit leaves many confused.

However, what does Maltese planning law state? Does it consider justice and fairness? Does the issuance of a similar permit to your neighbour automatically guarantee approval for your own permit?

The answer lies in the fact that the issuance of a planning permit is determined by (inter alia) the authority’s consideration of both plans and policies as well as surrounding legal commitment. This means that there is a preliminary hope that legal commitment in the area can support your case.

Still, it is does not take much to understand that commitment requires more than just one permit – In other words, relying solely on one permit does not effectively strengthen your argument for using “commitment” as leverage to secure another approval.

Therefore, what happens if only one permit is issued to someone else? Will it benefit your case?  I elaborate on this notion in my latest publication.