Government wants PA to propose changes to development regulations

Last Updated on Tuesday, 8 November, 2022 at 12:25 pm by Andre Camilleri

Government has requested the Planning Authority (PA) to propose amendments to the Regularisation of Existing Development Regulations.

These proposals include developments that fall within a Category 1 Rural Settlement, and pre-2016 properties which have their site perimeter partially beyond the development boundaries but covered with an existing permit. The Regularisation of Existing Development Regulations were introduced in August 2016 and give property owners with unsanctionable, non-conformant, development located entirely within the development boundaries, the opportunity to regularise their development.

These regulations enable owners to be in a far better position to sell, or use their property as a guarantee for finance. The PA is proposing to amend the regulations so that existing, unsanctionable, non-conformant developments which are sited entirely within a Category 1 Rural Settlement may also be considered for regularisation. Rural settlements were designated in the 2006 through the local plans. These settlements, outside the development boundaries, were areas, where several old building permits for dwellings had been granted and that were near the main urban areas but separated by an undeveloped gap.

The draft amendments also include properties which fall, partially, beyond the development boundaries. The regularisation shall only apply to existing buildings whose site is already covered by a permit issued prior to 2016. Only non-sanctionable variations from the existing permit shall be considered within the permitted site boundary. Sites where no form of development permission exists, shall not be eligible for regularisation.

The current regulations consider regularising past legally non conformant developments only if the building, or structure, does not result in any injury to amenity and if the use of the development is in conformity with current planning policies and regulations. Additionally, the existing irregular development cannot have a footprint which goes beyond what appears in the Authority’s aerial photographs of 2016. Any extension, or addition, beyond this footprint cannot be regularised. These prerequisites are set to remain untouched.

The draft regulations also propose to regularise those developments where an existing enforcement notice had been issued by the Authority prior to 2016. Since the introduction of these regulations in 2016, the Authority received over 19,500 applications. Over the years, the Authority has used the monies generated from these applications to finance schemes for the regeneration of our town and villages, namely the Irrestawra Darek Grant Scheme, Irrestawra l-Faċċata, Irrestawra l-Każin and the Traditional Wooden Balcony Restoration Grant Scheme. Some of the monies are also used for urban improvement projects proposed by local councils, or NGOs, through the Development Planning Fund.

The full draft amendments may be viewed on the PA’s website The Planning Authority invites the public to submit representations to the proposed amendments regarding the Regularisation of Existing Development Regulations.

Submissions are to be sent by email on: Submissions must be sent to the Authority not later than the 21st November 2022.

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