A development planning application entitled “Proposed additions of ramps to basement garages at levels 2 and 3” pertaining to a hotel in Xemxija was approved by the Environment and Planning Commission, further to which an appeal was lodged by a third party objector before the Environment and Planning Tribunal.

In his appeal, the appellant contested the decision and went on to allege that the permit is “a result of defective and irregular procedures undertaken by the Authority in the amendment of the pertinent road alignment” since a planning control application for the modification of the adjoining road alignment  (and which was approved independently from the development planning application) was issued illegally.

Appellant explained that he is the owner of the land subject to application PC42/12, which in turn was approved without him being formally notified as required by law.  To support his arguments, appellant made express reference to article 4 (2) of Legal Notice 71 of 2007 which expressly states that: “Where the applicant is not the owner of the land or is not the sole owner, he shall certify to the Authority that he has notified the owner of each other property within the same street of his intention by registered letter.”  Against this background, the objector argued that the permit subject to his appeal is “equally irregular”.

In reaction, applicant countered by stating that he acquired the land in question (incidentally, from the objector) by virtue of a deed of sale which took place in November 2012. Applicant therefore maintained that objector’s appeal is tantamount to “a ploy to disrupt and lengthen” his business.  For its part, the Authority argued that the permit should be upheld since objector’s arguments were evidently associated with the planning control application.

In its assessment, the Tribunal confirmed that objector’s grievances were not effectively linked with the merits of the decision under appeal, that is the development planning application. The Tribunal went on to highlight that it has no competence to decide over decisions emanating from planning control applications. In conclusion, the Tribunal maintained that the merits of the appeal appear to be associated with alleged rights of ownership, which may only be addressed before the Courts. In the circumstances, the appeal was outrightly rejected.