Audit Officer critical of petrol station permit
Mepa audit officer Joe Falzon has criticised aspects of the permit issued by Mepa last year for the construction of a large petrol station just outside Mgarr (Malta) to replace the one in the Church square.
The Ramblers' Association said that following its request, the audit officer had investigated the matter.
He found that the absence of a proper policy document on the provision of service stations made it impossible to decide whether good planning practice has been followed or not in the approval of this application. However, the approval of a retail facility to sell motor vehicles, the operation of a service garage for the repair of motor vehicles and spray painting, and the approval of a storage facility for construction vehicles was clearly against policy and should not have been approved.
When a development is approved to be located outside a building zone, only facilities which are strictly necessary for the proper operation of the facility should be considered. In the case of the applications under consideration, only the petrol station could possibly have been approved. The rest should have been located in areas zoned for this purpose.
The Ramblers said that 12 years after this saga began the MEPA had still not drawn up the relevant policy document.
“The site was subject to an enforcement order which the applicant had ignored and continued with his business. Yet the application was approved when, according to MEPA policy, it should have been dismissed.”