On June 13, Saturday, several environment groups in Malta filed a lawsuit against the country’s Planning Authority (PA) after its failure to withdraw the Jerma Development Brief. The brief is plan for construction activity on a site which has been earmarked for the development of a 15-story hotel and apartment complex, proposed by Porto Notos Limited in 2018
The lawsuit was filed by seven groups – including Din l-Art Helwa, FAA Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar, GreenHouse, Graffiti Movement, Nature Trust – FEE Malta, Ramblers Malta and the Archaeological Society Malta. The groups have accused the PA of conducting vitiated and irregular consultations with regard to the development brief prepared for the site of the former Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsascala.
The groups stated in their petition, “Although the Local Plan defines the area which should be subject to the Development Brief, the PA chose to include further areas in the Development Brief exercise. It included a green area which should be accessible to the public and where no increase in height or volume is permitted, as well as a heritage site for which there is already a policy applicable. Moreover, an area of 100,000 square meters which should be developed within the site was arbitrarily laid down.”
They further stated that “in view of the fact that the consultation exercise was not in line with the applicable laws and policies, the organizations had given ten days to the Authority to withdraw the flawed Jerma Development Brief. Since the Planning Authority failed to do so, the organizations had no other option but to open a lawsuit against the PA.”
“If the defective Development Brief proposed by the PA goes ahead, it would lead to a massive development project that negatively impacts the infrastructure of Marsascala and the lives of residents, with no long-term benefit to the locality,” the petition added.