A development planning application entitled ‘placing of tables and chairs’ was approved by the Planning Authority, following which the Senglea Local Council filed a third party appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal. 

The permit concerns a small public area, the size of two car parking spaces, situated in front of a catering establishment in Triq Dingli Cornelio, Senglea. The council objected to the permit, insisting that the development entails ‘the placement of a concrete raised platform’. The council further highlighted that the proposal would result in the loss of two car parking spaces.

Furthermore, it was alleged that those residents living in Sant’Anna old people’s home are now required to travel longer distances since an area previously reserved for loading/unloading was now occupied by the concrete platform. It was further maintained that the current traffic flow would be disrupted, resulting in ‘intrinsic conflicts created with incompatible users competing for the same space’. Finally, the council pointed out that customers being served on the platform, along with the food ‘being served’ are subjected to ‘exhaust fumes generated by vehicles’.

On its part, the Authority immediately highlighted that the platform was made of demountable timber. Moreover, the applicant had to abide with a number of conditions imposed by Transport Malta in as far as ‘operation’ and ‘safety’ issues were concerned. The authority also maintained that the applicant’s proposal was ‘compatible with the urban design and environmental characteristics of the area and complies with the DC Guidance for development within UCAs.’

On a separate note, ‘the reduction of two parking spaces’ was deemed to be acceptable since current policies do not require the provision of additional parking in the given situation. But even so, the authority held that ample parking provision was available along the nearby promenade. With regard to the old people’s home, the authority stressed that a ‘reserved area for loading/unloading’ in front of the premises was to be maintained.

In its assessment, the tribunal underlined that the council failed to substantiate its allegations. Moreover, it was observed that the proposal was in line with current policies, noting that both Transport Malta and the Malta Tourism Authority had given their ‘no objection’ during the application process. Finally, it was held that contrary to what was previously purported, the platform was demountable. Against this background, the Tribunal concluded that the permit should stay.