CF Developers Ltd has filed a case in front of the Court of Appeal as it tries to overturn a revocation of its permit to build a large apartment complex over the former Dolphin Complex, adjacent to Balzan’s Urban Conservation Area.

The Planning Authority describes the project as one of 88 apartments, while real estate agencies describe it as having 150 residences.

CF Developer Ltd is a subsidiary of CF Estates, a company which includes major developer Joseph Portelli as the largest shareholder, owning 30 per cent of the company. The remaining 70 per cent is equally split between Clifton Cassar, Duncan Micallef, Francis Agius and Stephen Falzon.

The company recently raised €30 million via a successful bond issue.

The permit was initially approved by the Planning Authority in 2022. It included plans for a seven-floor building, including two basement garages, 2,400sqm of retail outlets, and four overlying floors of 88 apartments including penthouses with rooftop pools.

CF Developers also submitted a separate application for more shops and 11 apartments adjacent to the project.

The controversial former head of the Building and Construction Authority, Maria Schembri, is the architect behind the project.

Residents and NGOs Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, together with the Balzan Local Council, then submitted an appeal to the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT), which was accepted in part on 23rd March.

The EPRT limited the number of floors to three full floors and one receded floor, instead of the four full floors and one receded floor which had been initially approved. The project would also need to be reassessed through a new case officer’s report, taking into account revised transport and floor management plans and mature trees and heritage features left out of the developers’ application.

With many of the apartments sold before the initial permit was even approved, the reduction in height – eliminated an entire storey of apartments – will be causing headaches for the company, which is now focusing its efforts on getting the Court of Appeal to overturn the Tribunal’s revocation.

In a communication to the market, CF Estates Finance Ltd said that CF Developers has filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal (Inferior Jurisdiction) against certain points of appeal previously upheld by the EPRT, and will be awaiting the outcome of such appeal before the Court.

“In respect of other points of appeal previously upheld by the EPRT which were not appealed by CF Developers Ltd in front of the Court of Appeal, these will be addressed by CF Developers Ltd after it receives the necessary directions and requests from the Planning Authority to this effect.”

Earlier this week, Mr Portelli managed to get one of the chairpersons of the Tribunal to recuse himself from another project he is involved in, through a different company, on account of his having personally objected to the Park Lane development. 

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