Robert Abela

Cabinet has approved a “fairer system” for planning appeals which will see the suspension of construction works until any appeals are exhausted.

The announcement was made on social media by Prime Minister Robert Abela, who encouraged the public to have its say in the upcoming consultation process.

The ability of construction projects to proceed even as tribunal and Court judgements hang over them has long generated controversy.

The issue was thrown into the spotlight in recent months after the Court handed down a sentence on the validity of the planning tribunal’s decision to allow the construction of a high rise tower on Xemxija ridge to proceed.

The development by Charles Camilleri of the former Mistra Villlage site has continued apace, with residents reporting rapid work for 12 hours a day, six days a week.

However, the project may yet be stopped in its tracks when the planning tribunal re-assesses the case in light of the Court’s decision. The next sitting is scheduled for late October.

The continuation of works – which has involved the take-up of public streets and eliminated dozens of parking spots – has drawn ire from residents, causing many to question whether the public space taken by the developer will be restored should the tribunal withdraw the permit.

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