The Qala local council expressed its satisfaction after the controversial application to turn a small rural ruin in the Ta’ Muxi area into a villa had been definitively dismissed.
A permit had originally granted to developer Joseph Portelli to transform the 31sqm ruined building into a villa, on the strength of a policy which allowed ruins to be redeveloped if proof of past residential use is submitted. While the Labour Party’s representative on the PA board voted in favour, the Labour-led Qala council had strongly opposed the plans.
In the midst of public, Portelli renounced the permit, but an appeal was nevertheless filed by the Environment & Resources Authority to ensure that the case would not create a precedent.
Proceedings before the Environment and Planning Appeals Tribunal were followed up by the Qala local council and NGO Din l-Art Ħelwa, who were represented by lawyer Claire Bonello.
The tribunal has confirmed that the application had been dismissed and that the period for further appeals had lapsed, and in view of this, it took no further cognisance of the case.
Qala mayor Paul Buttigieg, whilst welcoming the decision on behalf of the council, emphasised that it would not stop resisting other applications “which were ruining Qala and Gozo forever.”
The council is presently opposing another project by Portelli: the construction of 165 apartments at the periphery of the village’s built-up area. The relevant permits have been issued and construction is ongoing, but the council is seeking their revocation.