Malta Independent

PA failed demolitio

- ■ Kevin Schembri Orland

The Planning Authority (PA) did not abide by the law when granting permission for the demolition of a building, the Environmen­t and Planning Commission­er within the Office of the Ombudsman concluded following an investigat­ion into the case.

The complainan­t, in a case filed with the Commission­er, alleged that the Planning authority had approved a request to demolish a Grade 2 Scheduled building on the basis of Subsidiary Legislatio­n regarding removal of danger orders, which the complainan­t said “does not authorise the PA to approve demolition of buildings but only the removal of dangerous ones,” the Ombudsman’s case notes for 2018 read. No details of the site in question were given due to the Ombudsman keeping such details confidenti­al due to legislatio­n.

Following a preliminar­y investigat­ion of the relative file, this Commission­er informed the PA that there were a number of anomalies in the way this permit was issued and therefore merited immediate suspension of this permit which should be rendered null and void.

The issues raised in connection with this complaint can be summarised as follows: the absence of a detailed site inspection by an architect appointed by the Authority; whether a danger in terms of the law really existed on site; the applicant’s failure to declare that the site was scheduled; discrepanc­y between what was declared as dangerous on site and what was actually approved; and failure to request the applicant to submit method statements for shoring.

The report reads that the PA based its authorisat­ion on a Structural Appraisal Report drawn up by an architect who is not the architect responsibl­e for the applicatio­n according to law. The Commission­er explained that the PA said that ‘an inspection of the site was not carried out because of the level of detail of the structural analysis which had been carried out by the independen­t architect and the quantity of illustrati­ve material which it contained. These clearly presented the state of the building, and incidental­ly, indicated the division in the relative state of the two halves of the building.’ The architect who prepared the structural analysis report was commission­ed by the applicant and hence in its justificat­ion the PA is wrong in stating that this analysis had been carried out by an independen­t architect, the Commission­er comments.

“Furthermor­e, the subsidiary legislatio­n clearly binds that any authorisat­ion can ‘… only be issued on the basis of detailed site inspection­s by an architectu­re and civil engineerin­g profes

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