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Popular St Julian’s Guesthouse Punished For Opening Doors To Guests Before Acquiring Permit

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A new guesthouse in the Wied Għomor valley of Spinola will be refused a planning permit after it had operated without one for the past few months.

The Valley is one of the best-rated Maltese accommodations on booking.com, offering guests a secluded experience a stone’s throw away from St Julian’s.

In a hearing today, the Planning Commission said The Valley’s application should be rejected because it had been operating illegally as a guesthouse.

It also cited rural policy which states buildings in development zones can only change their use if it results in a wider environmental benefit.

Two dilapidated buildings used to stand instead of the guesthouse but the PA approved their conversion into a villa in May 2017, right before the general election, after the owner provided evidence that they were used as residences in the 1980s.

No sooner was the building approved as a villa than its owner Karl Camilleri applied to convert it into a guesthouse. The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) opposed the plan, arguing that the earlier applications to convert the ruins into a villa had been mere stepping stones leading to the guesthouse proposal.

The St Julian’s and Swieqi local councils, as well as environmental NGOs Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Din l-Art Ħelwa and Nature Trust, all opposed the development but it was recommended for approval by the Planning Authority’s case officer last month.

A formal decision on the permit will be taken next week.

READ NEXT: One Of Malta’s Best Rated Accommodations On Booking.com Doesn’t Actually Have A Permit

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