Press Release 13th November 2014
The government’s proposal to change the regulations governing planning control (PC) applications will erode the current rights of persons with property in the same location.
A PC application is submitted to request an alteration in street alignments or zoning, such as the use of a site. An applicant currently requires the written consent of 75% of the immediately affected neighbours on the same street in order to submit such an application.
The proposed legislation removes the need to obtain this consent from neighbours.
Din l-Art Helwa strongly disagrees with this proposal. The reduction of bureaucracy should not be achieved by simply eliminating citizens’ rights in order to facilitate development. Din l-Art Helwa insists that a majority of neighbours should still be in agreement with any application by an individual property owner to change the street alignment or the zoning of the area.
Whilst currently the onus is on the applicant to obtain consent, doing away with this requirement altogether will instead put the onus on the neighbours to seek professional help, usually at a considerable cost, to fight an application which they may not agree with and which may impact on their civil and property rights, especially in the case of street alignments.
The interests of speculators are repeatedly being put before those of the man in the street. The government is showing an incessant drive to relax planning laws and facilitate development, without showing any interest whatsoever in the protection of the environment. Din l-Art Helwa strongly condemns any form of proposal which diminishes further the rights of citizens to be active participants in the shaping of their immediate environment.