666 ODZ permits in Gozo since 2017

Miguela Xuereb

A total of 666 permits for development outside the development zone in Gozo have been issued since 2017, figures published in Parliament show.

The information was requested in a Parliamentary Question made by Gozitan MP Kevin Cutajar, the Nationalist Party’s construction spokesman, to Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia.

The figures do not elaborate on the projects which have received approval, which would include agricultural structures and government infrastructural projects as well as residences. Perhaps the most controversial ODZ residential property granted during the period in question was the granting of a permit to convert a ruined structure in the Qala countryside – whose past use as a residence was questionable as best – into a villa. In the wake of public outrage, the developer – Joseph Portelli – renounced the permit.

Excluding 24 permits for projects which extend over multiple localities – many of which are likely to be government infrastructural projects – the largest number of ODZ permits (114) were granted for proposed developments in Xagħra.

In contrast, just 6 ODZ permits covered proposed developments in Fontana, the smallest Gozitan locality by area by a considerable margin.

localityODZ permits
Għajnsielem (includes Comino)54
Munxar (includes Xlendi)23
San Lawrenz41
Żebbuġ (includes Marsalforn)51
projects spanning multiple localities24