The Malta Developers Association (MDA) has issued a reaction to a recent court judgement overturning the planning tribunal’s decision to allow a five-storey building in a row of two-storey houses abutting an outside development zone in Santa Luċija.

The organisation is insisting that the judgement is “nothing new”, pointing out that the Planning Authority has “in various instances quoted the same article both to approve and refuse applications depending on the context of the application”.

The application was initially refused by the Planning Commission, one of the major decision-making bodies within the Planning Authority.

However, this refusal was overturned by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal.

Objectors then turned to the Court of Appeal, which in a sentence delivered this week argued that the height revisions in the landmark Development Control 2015 (DC15) document must be taken into consideration in tandem with other provisions.

“The Court once again stated that it is not enough to state that there is a commitment, but it is the person claiming that there is a commitment that actually needs to prove this or otherwise,” said the MDA.

“Regarding the issue of policy interpretation, the DC15 is not only a policy document but also a guidance document. It is a document which acknowledges that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. The DC15 is a clear departure of the previous policy regime.”

The organisation argued that the document is “a framework composed of policies (which are marked in red) that cannot be breached, good practice guidance marked in orange, and technical standards marked in yellow.”

It said that “when considering the contextual design and the urban Form, the policies marked in red cannot be breached. In fact, anyone considering the DC 2015 as a policy document with all Policies, Guidance Notes and Standards having the same weighting shows that they have not understood this very important document which was debated at length and to which there is an agreement by all parties.

It continued: “In fact, anyone who tries to consider the DC15 as a policy document with all policies, guidance notes and standards having the same weighting shows that they have not understood this very important document which was debated at length and to which there is an agreement by all parties.”

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