Former Finance Minister Tonio Fenech has urged the government to propose amendments to Malta’s local plans, which he had voted for as a PN MP fifteen years ago.
“Malta has changed since 2006 and the local plans should change too,” Fenech told Lovin Malta.
“The local plans introduced an element of regulation, but they weren’t perfect. However, they have never been updated.”
“Laws are constantly changed and governments are there to improve them – if something is wrong then it’s wrong, even if I had voted for it in 2006.”
It was the local plans which allowed a developer to construct an apartment block in Birkirkara which extends to the edge of the road, despite the fact that most of the other houses on the street have front gardens.
The local plans exclude front gardens from the street, Misrah San Alwigi, despite the fact that the houses had gardens back in 2006.
Fenech decried this development as one which will destroy the streetscape.
“Malta is becoming ugly – can we not see it? Time will come when we will pay a heavy price for this greed,” he warned.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Robert Abela recently shrugged off concerns at the threat of development in Ħondoq ir-Rummien by noting that the local plans changed its protection status.
“The government’s hands are literally tied because of what the PN administration did,” he said when questioned by The Malta Independent.
“I don’t agree with everything that’s in the local plans but the fact is that these plans gave rights to property owners. The government can’t simply change the local plans and take their rights away from them; things don’t work like that.”
Despite regular pledges by the PL government to amend the local plans, nothing has ever been done, with the process likely to open a whole can of worms.
However, Fenech said there’s no need to start everything from scratch and that the government can propose separate amendments to improve flawed parts of the plans.
“You can’t do nothing. They can propose amendments for this street in Birkirkara or for Ħondoq ir-Rummien… if there’s a mistake, it should be amended.”
Cover photo: Right: Tonio Fenech