Planning law lecturer and leading government consultant Robert Musumeci has challenged the Nationalist Party on whether it agrees with seven radical potential planning policies to combat overdevelopment.
Musumeci put forward these seven potential policies after PN MEP Roberta Metsola published a seven-point ‘green manifesto’ to “adapt our economic model to look beyond concrete and asphalt” and ensure “sustainability and liveability” become key considerations when taking decisions.
Although she didn’t pinpoint any specific planning policies which need to change, she made it clear that she believes some kind of systematic change is necessary.
These are the potential policies that Musumeci is asking the PN for its opinion on.
1. Freeze the 2006 ‘rationalised’ zones and don’t compensate landowners who will lose their current building rights because of the legal concept that this right is a “legitimate expectation that can be frustrated” by Parliament changing the laws.
2. No matter what the local plans say, no planning permit should be issued if it will result in the creation of blank walls. It won’t be a valid excuse for landowners to argue that their neighbour might build apartment blocks next to yours in the future.
3. No compensation to people who would lose their right to build after the freezing of the local plans because the plans in and of themselves don’t give them a vested legal right to develop their properties.
4. Give the Environment and Resources Authority a veto on planning permits. As soon as it disagrees with a permit, the permit will not be issued, with a right to appeal only applicable on a point of law.
5. A similar veto will also be given to the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, with a right to appeal only applicable on a point of law.
6. Environmental NGOs will be allowed to express their opinions before a planning decision is taken, participate in the decision, and appeal if they disagree with it.
7. Development permits will only be issued if there aren’t objections from third parties.
Musumeci said that his ‘seven point plan’ is intended to translate the thoughts of critics of the current system into actual policy changes.
“I’d like to know what the prospective government [the PN] thinks of these points.”