A planning application entitled “To carry out alterations and additions to existing townhouse” in Triq il-Kullegg l-Antik, Sliema, was  approved by MEPA’s Environment and Planning Commission on the express condition that  applicant makes a “Commuted Parking Payment Scheme (CPPS) payment” equivalent to €2,094 since parking was not being provided on site.

MEPA’s condition was not accepted by the Environment and Planning Tribunal.

The Tribunal was involved by the applicant, who filed an appeal with it, insisting that he was made to pay such contribution despite being in possession of a garage situated some 60 metres away, which garage he incidentally acquired by way of the same contract pertaining to the townhouse in question. Applicant therefore requested the Tribunal to order the MEPA to reimburse him with the amount.

On its part, the Authority underlined that the original existing townhouse consisted of a two-bedroom dwelling (thus, requiring one parking space). MEPA went on to argue that applicant sought to extend the townhouse with a view to accommodate a further two bedrooms.

Given the circumstances, the Authority maintained that applicant’s property now required two parking spaces since a four bedroom dwelling in Sliema necessitated two parking spaces in all. In this case, the requirement to provide one parking space was being “waived” (given that such parking space was not available in the original dwelling).

Nonetheless, a monetary compensation was still due in order to make good for the required “second parking space”. As a final point, the Authority held that “the availability or otherwise, of other properties in the vicinity (in this case, a garage located 60 metres away) “does not affect the parking requirement calculations.”

But even so, the Authority held that such garage served other approved development on that same site.

In its assessment, the Tribunal observed that it was only now that the Authority made an attempt to justify the €2,094 contribution. As a matter of fact, the Authority did not make any mention as to why such contribution was indeed due during the application process.

But even so, the Tribunal noted that the site in which applicant’s garage was located, though 60 metres away,  featured  “excess” parking provision if one were to consider the nature and scale of that entire development. In the circumstances, the Tribunal consented that the garage which applicant acquired 60 metres away satisfied applicant’s parking requirements and ordered the MEPA to refund applicant.