Tuesday, 9th August 2016
Front calls for revision of ODZ policy
Front Ħarsien ODZ is calling for a revision of a policy included in the Rural Policy and Design Guidelines approved in 2014 which is resulting in the reconstruction of long collapsed buildings and the erection of new dwellings in the countryside.
A case in point was the issue for a permit for an ODZ dwelling in Tal-Fata in Zabbar.
“Although the original structure no longer exists after collapsing in the 1970s, a permit was issued for a two-storey dwelling over a 141m2 footprint on the premise that a voter was registered on this address in the 1947 electoral register.”
A similar permit issued in September 2015 foresaw the demolition of three roofless structures to be converted into a villa with a swimming pool, on the Rabat outskirts of Landrijiet – also ODZ.
The rebuilding of old ruins outside development zones into new dwellings is permitted by the rural policy, if developers present proof that the ruinswere once used as a residence. Moreover, according to the policy, any building constructed before 1978 is considered as legal. Therefore any pre 1978 building whose existence can be confirmed on a site plan can now be rebuilt even if it no longer exists.
The Front notes that the redevelopment of ‘ruins’ was specifically excluded in the first draft policy regulating rural and ODZ developments issued for public consultation in October 2013. Ruins were defined as “any dilapidated structure which had lost the majority of its supporting walls or roofs”. But this clause was removed in the approved document.
The Front is calling on the PA to reintroduce this safeguard against a loophole which is being used to build new residential development in ODZ areas.