A planning permission was issued in 1999 to ‘finish off’ structural works which had been pending in an industrial site located outside the development zone of Naxxar.

Works had nonetheless continued after the said permission had expired in 2004. An enforcement notice was subsequently issued against the owners. In the notice, it was specifically indicated that a concrete roof was constructed when the permit had expired. Moreover it was alleged that the owner had constructed a concrete platform, also without a permit.

In reaction, the owner appealed the notice before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal. In his detailed submissions, the architect representing the owner argued that the site was covered by a permit “to continue and complete building works that were still under construction at the time.”

The said permit was issued on the 19 November 1999 and was valid for five years. It was further explained that the premises were used for the manufacture and assembly of aluminium products. The architect said that his client was “not denying” the fact that works had in fact been undertaken after the 5 year validity period. Nevertheless, it was argued that the owner had all the relative trading licenses and “the fact that the roof was not installed or completed in whole” was not tantamount to the factory not being “committed”.

As regards the concrete platform, the appellant insisted that such works were considered as maintenance works which do not require a planning permit. In addition, it was maintained that “there would be no point in removing the section of the roof in question only to apply once more and reconstruct the exact same thing”, more so when it was the same Authority who had not objected to the works in the first place.

Concluding, appellant said that at the time, the DNO regulations allowed for the replacement and reconstruction of roofs subject by way of a simple notification.

In reply, the Authority reiterated that appellant’s arguments were legally frivolous. Indeed, the appellant had admitted that works had resumed beyond the five year period. Also, the Authority highlighted that a trading license does not give the holder a right to undertake construction works without a valid planning permit.

In its assessment, the Tribunal however observed that in the interim period, the Authority had received an application to sanction the roofing works, following which it was approved by the Planning Commission. Nevertheless, the Tribunal maintained that the illegal platform was still not covered by a planning permit. Against this background, the enforcement notice was confirmed insofar as the concrete platform was concerned.