The Commissioner for Environment and Planning addresses unauthorised vehicular access in Mosta

The Commissioner for Environment and Planning within the Office of the Ombudsman has concluded its investigation into the unauthorised opening of a vehicular access through Triq il-Waqqafa, Mosta. Mosta residents complained about work done by a retail village, leading to new vehicular access despite prior refusals by the Planning Authority (PA) and the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT).

Case background

On 25 March 2024, Mosta residents filed a complaint alleging that Infrastructure Malta (IM) initiated temporary roadworks on Pantar Road, resulting in the unauthorised opening of vehicular access through Triq il-Waqqafa. Residents argued that this action bypassed legal channels, lacked transparency, and ignored community welfare and urban planning policies. The PA initially closed the case, citing the works as temporary measures under Class 3 of the Development Notification Order (DNO).

Residents’ concerns

Residents were worried about traffic redirection through residential areas without consultation, a potential permanent establishment of vehicular access, and health concerns due to increased pollution.

Investigation findings

The EPRT had previously confirmed the PA’s refusal of a planning application for the same vehicular access in June 2021. On 7 March 2024, workers began opening the access, prompting immediate resident complaints. A declaration signed on 13 March 2024 by CEOs of Transport Malta (TM), Infrastructure Malta, and the retail village indicated the temporary access would last until 27 July 2024. The Commissioner confirmed the works were emergency measures related to public safety, involving high-voltage electricity distribution, and did not require a development permit under the Development Planning Act.

Resolution

A meeting was held between the Ombudsman, the Commissioner, and the CEO of Infrastructure Malta, and a schedule of works was established. The temporary road in Triq il-Waqqafa, Mosta, was scheduled to be closed by the end of July 2024. However, at the insistence of the Office of the Ombudsman, the closure was moved forward by two months. The Planning Authority was instructed to ensure the proper closure of the opening, which was restored by the end of May 2024. Residents’ further concerns regarding construction methods may be addressed with the Building and Construction Authority.

Conclusion

The vehicular access in question has been closed, and the Commissioner assures that any misconceptions in the PA’s initial response have been resolved. The temporary measures were deemed necessary for public safety, and the issue has now been rectified to the residents’ satisfaction.

Report:

Final Opinion

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