Following a negative recommendation from the Planning Directorate, the request was also turned down by the Planning Commission after it found that the proposed interventions failed to meet the policy criteria.
In particular, the Commission highlighted that the proposed works, namely the stables and the ancillary facilities, would occupy an a floor area in excess of that allowed by policy. Furthermore, it was maintained that the stables were not constructed in timber as required by policy.
To complicate matters, the Commission also noted that a wall was built to demarcate the site in question without applicant having sought prior permission.
Subsequently to the decision, applicant lodged an appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, insisting that the Commission had acted unreasonably.
In his rikors (appeal application), applicant (now, appellant) argued that the initial design proposal was undertaken prior to the rural policy being updated in 2014. Having said that, applicant signaled that he had submitted new designs prior to the decision, which designs were allegedly ignored.
As to the illegal dividing wall, applicant insisted that he had no connection whatsoever in that respect. Nevertheless, appellant stessed that the said wall had been in existence since 2008. Moreover, applicant pointed out that the said wall, which the Authority claimed to be illegal, was made of rubble material.
In this context, reference was made to Legal Notice 160 of 1997 which seeks to protect rubble walls and encourage their upkeep so much so that no planning permit is needed to carry out maintenance works thereto.
For this reason, appellant contended that the Authority should seek to protect the said wall rather than order its removal.
In its assessment, the Tribunal confirmed that the Commission had received a revised set of plans showing stables with a floor area which was less than what was permitted.
Moreover, the Tribunal noted that during the pendency of proceedings, a permit was also issued for the sanctioning of the boundary wall. Having said that, the Tribunal asserted that appellant had submitted an outline application, meaning that the design of the stables was not as yet determined.
Against this background, the Authority was ordered to issue the outline permit subject to the design of the stables being held as a reserved matter.