Times of Malta, 4th March 2008 – The Malta Chamber of Planners said it felt distraught by the DCC’s decision to approve a supermarket in Safi last November, in utter disregard of all planning policies.

The Chamber said it sees the decision as a mockery of the planning profession. Through their decisions and feeble excuses, Mepa is systematically committing more and more land for indiscriminate development, the Chamber said.

“These blunders are the offspring of the mediocrity and incompetence that runs the organisation. Most board members, albeit conducting a very demanding task, have no academic background or qualifications to objectively pass judgement on development,” the Chamber said.

It said the approval of a 6,500 square metres supermarket on good arable land having a total site area of 10,000 square metres is an utter disgrace, one which should not have only brought about the resignation of the DCC board members but all those who had any involvement or the duty to see that such decisions are not taken.

The Chamber argued that the decision is in breach of the Development Planning Act 1992, Article 13 (5) which requires specific planning reasons to be stated in the application file by the DCC chairman in order to overturn the directorate’s recommendation.

Failing to do so should trigger Article 39A dealing with the revocation of permit which allows the authority to revoke a permit “where there is an error on the face of the record”, the latter termed as an error which is against the law.

In this case, the unjustified decision is an offence to the law and the auditor had amply demonstrated the gross irregularities of the decision, the chamber said.