01/10/2015 – Upon reviewing the Development Planning Bill, ELSA Malta insists that legislators should reconsider any amendments made to the development planning laws, particularly referring to those related to the level of consent required by an applicant from an owner of a land.
When it comes to requesting a planning permit for development on someone else’s land, the law as it stands today requires proof of the consent of the owner of the land before such a permit could be issued, whilst also requires providing MEPA with proof that the owner has been notified earlier on. Whilst an applicant is not the owner of the land, through this procedure, the applicant would have declared that consent was granted by the owner to submit the application for development on the latter’s land.
The bill seeks a removal of this obligation to seek the owners consent before granting a planning permit, and the government justifies this through a selective reasoning of a sentence issued by the law courts on a disputed shaft on top of a restaurant, a case resolved in June 2015. Consequently, what is being proposed is that all one requires to apply for development on someone else’s land is merely a registered letter informing the owner, whilst the owners consent is only required after the planning permit is issued.
ELSA Malta encourages the legislators to review this bill in order to safeguard the interests of land owners, as consent is a major component in preventing bureaucratic abuse related to property. It is recommended that the obscurities surrounding this Bill are addressed, as although the primary intentions of this Bill might refer to initiating a speedier process towards applying for a planning permit, the consequences of having such legislation would inevitably result in multiple loopholes and gateways towards abuse.