Developer renounces to ODZ permit in Qala

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli has renounced a controversial permit to build a villa instead of ruins in Qala’s countryside following public outrage.

The Planning Authority approved the application on Thursday, which led to criticism from various quarters, including Partit Laburista MEP Alfred Sant. Qala Local Council stated that it would appeal the PA’s decision while the Church’s Environment Commission had remarked that the country had taken a step back on climate change by approving the permit.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Sant said that Elizabeth Ellul’s post is untenable. Ellul chairs the Planning Commission. He added that she should resign from her post, since her conflicts of interest have become clear.

A spokesperson for Portelli’s company was quoted saying that the company had taken a decision to “voluntarily renounce this permit with immediate effect”.

Qala mayor Paul Buttigieg said that the local council is seeking legal advice. Councillors elected on PN ticket on Qala local council said that they will make sure that the permit will be cancelled.

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola claimed that the Planning Authority is duty bound to revoke the permit, since it would remain legally valid. A permit is legally valid for five years and would remain valid if the land is sold.