The Malta Independent 22 July 2024, Monday
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Cacopardo insists on €16.5 million planning gain from Malta Freeport Terminals

Kevin Schembri Orland Tuesday, 28 February 2017, 15:38 Last update: about 8 years ago

Carmel Cacopardo, representing the Birzebbugia local council, insists that the €955,000 Malta Freeport Terminals was ordered to pay as a planning gain be upped to €16.5 million.

Carmel Cacopardo, who is also the AD Deputy Chairperson, was presenting his arguments before the Planning Appeals and Review Tribunal this afternoon.

The Environment and Planning Commission had ordered the Freeport to pay €955,000 through a planning gain, in return for the sanctioning of four large cranes which had been installed. This was, however, appealed by the Malta Freeport Terminals who objected the decision whereby it would be made to pay the €955,000 as compensation for possible negative impacts on the Birzebbugia community by the four cranes.

Planning gains are contributions to a special fund, which are used to finance embellishment projects in the community and to fund urban improvements.

Mr Cacopardo, appearing before the appeals tribunal, brought in Mr Jonathan Orlando, a Planning Authority representative who coordinated the DPAR report on this particular case to testify. He proceeded to ask a flurry of questions relating to how the Planning Authority decided on the €955,000 figure. In response, mr Orlando said that the rate of €1.16 per sqm was used, and that this amount is according to internal practice for planning gains in such applications when it comes to large industrial developments. He explained that the total affected area was 823,000 sqm. Mr Orlando said that in cases of residential and commercial large developments, the practice is for a €4.66 per sqm planning gain to be ordered. In other cases, on occasion, lump sums can also be ordered, but stressed that there is some flexibility when it comes to planning gain amounts.

Mr Cacopardo, however, indicated that the sea area was not taken into consideration, and Mr Orlando said that they based their consideration on the site indicated within the application, which did not include the sea area. He conducted a rough estimation and the sea area affected would be around 220,000 sqm.

The AD Deputy Chairperson also said that in the Lowenbrau redevelopment case, where the factory was to be redeveloped into a mixed-use development site which includes a supermarket, the appeals tribunal ordered that €15 per sqm be paid as a planning gain. Mr Cacopardo added that the effects of the new cranes on the Birzebbugia residents are far greater than the effects of the Lowenbrau redevelopment on the residents of that area.

Mr Cacopardo calculated the total amount that should be paid as a planning gain to be €16.5 million. He also brought up the issue of noise pollution caused by the cranes, and asked whether this was considered by the authority, to which Mr Orlando said yes.

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