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Mysterious Għar Lapsi balcony is set in stone

No evidence to issue enforcement order, says PA

The ‘mysterious’ Għar Lapsi coastal cliff balcony as seen from a distance. Photo: Facebook

The ‘mysterious’ Għar Lapsi coastal cliff balcony as seen from a distance. Photo: Facebook

A ‘mysterious’ concrete balcony protruding from the Għar Lapsi coastal cliffs enjoying unobstructed views of Filfla is there to stay, as according to the planning watchdog there is no “solid evidence” to issue an enforcement order.

Completely concealed from land, the structure is only visible from the sea. It was flagged a few weeks ago by environmentalist Alan Deidun, who posted a photo on his Facebook account.

While questioning the legality of what he sarcastically described as “a room with a view” he questioned if this was yet another audacious attempt to have a property in a privileged location.

A close up of the concrete balcony captured by Planning Authority staff during a recent inspection. Photo: Planning AuthorityA close up of the concrete balcony captured by Planning Authority staff during a recent inspection. Photo: Planning Authority

“Seems like constructions within cliffs themselves have become the next frontier,” he remarked.

Comments below Prof. Deidun’s post claimed that the ‘balcony’ was connected to nearby boathouses next to the Għar Lapsi public convenience.

This newspaper asked with the Planning Authority to verify if the structure was covered by a development permit and if an enforcement order had been ever issued.

In his reply, a PA spokesman noted that the options available were limited as the development might have been there for decades, possibly before 1967.  By law, structures build before this cut-off date which are visible on the 1967 aerial photos are considered legal, regardless of their location.

Pressed further as to whether any onsite inspections were ever carried out in the wake of claims that the property was interconnected to nearby boathouses, the PA spokesman said that such exercise had been done twice but its outcome was nonetheless inconclusive.

“During the 2014 site inspection it was immediately apparent that the construction of this opening was not recent. Another site inspection was carried out recently and no new openings in the cliff face were noted,” he said.

“In view that the structure is not of a recent construction and might have been in existence in 1967, the Enforcement Directorate for the time being does not have solid evidence on what to base enforcement action,” the spokesman added.

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