The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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PN calls for government to make necessary changes in local plans

Monday, 17 June 2024, 13:03 Last update: about 29 days ago

PN MPs Stanley Zammit and Rebekah Borg have reiterated the PN's call for government to conduct studies not yet done, and make the necessary changes needed in terms of planning policy, including in the local plans.

In a statement on Monday, the PN also said it wanted government to review the 'Development Control Design Policy, Guidance and Standards 2015', while removing, not adding, layers between policies that add no value, including Annex 2.

It said that government cannot continue to patch up with half-baked, ambiguous solutions that create contradictions, obscure what people really want from their environment, and diminish their quality of life.

"After intentionally stagnating the planning system and reducing the Planning Authority to a Permits Authority, the Labour Government instructed the same Authority to begin a process that consolidates erroneous and ambiguous interpretations and formalizes them by amending the 'Development Control Policy, Guidance and Standards 2015 (DC15)' and Annex 2," it said.

The PN said that this document, which weakened the planning system when it opened policies to dangerous precedents and suspicious interpretations, is one of the causes of increased density without plan, strained infrastructure, environmental pollution, rising property prices, "and the degradation of the environments where we live, work, and rest."

During the meeting of the Standing Committee on Environment, Climate Change, and Development Planning on this matter, "Planning Authority officials confirmed with their silence that none of the 16 submissions in the consultation process regarding the partial review of the 'DC15 - Policy P35' were considered and the government will keep its head in the sand to formalize erroneous decisions that were even contested by the Courts of Malta."

The PN said that the same officials emphasised that with these changes no improvements will be made and everything will remain the same.

"While the Government representatives on this Committee contributed very little during this meeting, the Opposition members insisted that this is an exercise in squandering that will continue to ruin our country because it is based on an outdated Spatial Strategy," it said.

The PN said this lacks important studies that analyse how much and what type of development should or could occur, the 'carrying capacity,' what type of infrastructural investment is needed to sustain such developments and the situation and effect of such developments on social, cultural, environmental, and economic aspects for the coming years.

"These amendments will not reassure anyone; instead, they will increase uncertainty and complications for owners, developers, neighbours, sellers, and buyers," the PN said.

It called for government to not to miss an opportunity and "hide behind the 18-year-old local plans" to justify the serious lack of planning in the last 11 years, and heed the people who have clearly voiced their frustration, and to publish every recent study the government has regarding planning.

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