A planning application entitled “Proposed alterations and construction of a canopy at level 3’’ was approved by the Environment and Planning Authority. The proposed works concern a third floor dwelling forming part of a complex of apartments situated in Marsaxlokk. Essentially, the drawings show a cantilevered canopy projecting over an open terrace pertaining to third parties. Having said that, the canopy does not extend beyond the extents of the third party projection.

Following approval, an objector filed an appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, insisting that the proposed works run counter to a number of planning policies. The objector specifically referred to Policy 11.6 of DC 2007 which states that canopies may not extend beyond a distance of one metre from a façade.

In this case, the appellant alleged that the cantilevered distance added up to 3.48 metres. Moreover, the objector requested the Tribunal to take note of the fact that Policy 11.6 does not refer to the official building line but the actual facade. The objector therefore contended that the canopy (as approved) is not visually related to the façade of the building, adding that  ‘the proposed canopy adversely affects the uniformity in the elevation, particularly in respect to fenestration at the underlying levels.’

On the same lines, it was argued that ‘the proposed canopy fails to respect the architectural equilibrium and rhythm of the streetscape, particularly since the subject apartment block forms part of a wider Housing Authority development whose facades are complementary and exhibit a rhythmic distribution of facade elements. The objector also alleged that the proposed development is in breach of Structure Plan policy BEN 2, as it is “unlikely to maintain the good visual integrity of the area in which it is located”. Concluding, it was highlighted that the canopy amounts to ‘a significant security risk’, since ‘the roof of the canopy would be easily accessible from a terrace in common parts of neighbouring house block.’

For his part, the case officer representing the defendant (the Planning Authority) reiterated that ‘the canopy is set within the building line and does not extend beyond the building footprint’. More so, it was counter argued that the proposal is likely to maintain the good visual integrity of the area in which it is located.

In its assessment, the Tribunal observed that the projection was adequately set back from the front garden alignment. Moreover, the Tribunal disagreed with the objector, concluding that the canopy would maintain the visual integrity of the area. As a final point, the Tribunal pointed out that the permit should stay regardless of any third party civil rights which objector was possibly entitled to.