The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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Appeal filed against approval of Joseph Portelli ODZ pool in Marsalforn Valley

Saturday, 24 September 2022, 10:50 Last update: about 3 months ago

Five organisations and the Xagħra Local Council have submitted an appeal with the Planning Tribunal (EPRT) against the Planning Commission’s decision to approve another Joseph Portelli pool in Marsalforn Valley. The appeal was made possible thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign that collected, in just a few days, the necessary funds to institute legal actions against this scandalous development permit.

In a shameful spectacle of servility to big business, the Planning Commission Chairperson, Martin Camilleri, bent over backwards to please Portelli, green-lighting the application notwithstanding the case officer’s recommendation for refusal.

In addition to being in ODZ, Portelli’s proposed swimming pool is also, literally, inside a valley, and forms part of the massive apartment block project at the edge of the same valley. The approval of a swimming pool in a valley sets a dangerous precedent for subsequent approvals of similar projects, opening the flood gates to the destruction of our valleys and facilitating the continued rapid destruction of Gozo. 

Martin Camilleri’s approval was in clear breach of several laws and planning policies. The organisations’ appeal outlines the numerous regulations that categorically prohibit the approved ODZ development, such as: the Gozo Local Plan provision which disallows development on the ridge edge; the site being within the 50 meter buffer zone from an Urban Conservation Area (UCA); and the formalization and parcelling of ODZ land, among others. Moreover, the Planning Commission asserted that the site was already committed, when it was not, and also conducted itself in an irregular manner throughout the proceedings when it failed to indicate its intention to approve or refuse the application during the first hearing, instead instructing the developer to carry out insignificant changes which were then used as a pretext for approval.

As can be seen from the repeated success of crowdfunding campaigns, the people of Malta and Gozo are outraged at the destruction of our urban and natural environment for the benefit of the wealthy few. Another crowdfunding campaign earlier this year led to an appeal being filed by Moviment Graffitti against the third application connected to Portelli’s monstrous development in Sannat.

In the face of this assault on our environment and quality of life, we are determined to continue fighting against the defacing of Gozo and Malta at the hands of developers like Joseph Portelli and rotten entities like the Planning Authority.


Organisations filing the appeal


Moviment Graffitti

Din l-Art Ħelwa


Wirt Għawdex

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA)

Xagħra Local Council


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