The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

Updated: Court of Appeal overturns swimming pool permit to Minister Borg

Wednesday, 19 June 2019, 16:22 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Court of Appeal has overturned a Planning Authority permit granted to Planning Minister Ian Borg and his wife, which had allowed them to build a swimming pool on agricultural land adjacent to their home.

In a ruling on Wednesday the court decided that the minister’s proposed development was not permissible and that the Planning Authority had illegally issued a development permit.


Borg’s permit had been challenged by Dingli resident Noel Ciantar, after the Environment and Planning Tribunal partially confirmed, last April an earlier permit granted to the Minister by the PA.

The court accepted Ciantar’s objection that the PA had used a policy which was not applicable to the rural area where Minister Borg had built his controversial home in order to issue a second permit to turn ODZ land into a swimming pool and recreational area.

In its decision, the Court of Appeal said that the PA and the Tribunal could not apply the Rural Policy and Design Guidance document to issue the permit to the Minister as it did not apply to the area where the Minster lives.

Under the applicable plan, a swimming pool in the rural settlement was not permissible.

The court revoked the Tribunal’s decision, together with the original permit issued by the PA, as this was based on the wrong policy.


Borg says original permit not revoked


In a Facebook post, Borg said that his legal team had advised him that the court’s decision only revoked the tribunal’s decision. The original permit, he said, was not revoked and is, as such, still valid

In a second post, the minister said he had allowed the Planning Authority, the courts and the media to do their job. He said, however, that a certain journalist was persisting and adding a sentence that did not exist in the court judgment. The court had at no time said that the original permit is being revoked, he reiterated.


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