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88 per cent of applications approved over past 10 years

I refer to the article ‘How is your Planning Authority voting’, (The Sunday Times of Malta, February 4).

The article tries giving readers a quick analysis of the voting outcomes of the Planning Board for 2017. The article correctly highlights that during 2017, 90 per cent of the applications which were decided by the Board got approved. When one compares this figure to that of previous years, one comes to the conclusion that this figure is within the average figure, 88 per cent, for the past 10 years.

What the article fails to point out is the rigorous, transparent process a planning application passes through before it gets decided by the Planning Board. It is safe to say that no major planning application that is submitted to the Authority is approved without considerable changes. These changes take place both during the screening and processing of the application by the Planning Directorate.

Following the requested studies and consultations that are carried out with other entities, the Directorate keeps the applicant with the ‘drawing board’ open to bring the project to a place where it is in line with both planning strategy and policies. The Planning Board is also in a position to influence and request changes that can further improve the quality, design and overall outcome of a project.

Given the complexity of the planning process, it is over-simplistic to come to the conclusion that overdevelopment is a consequence of the number of permits granted by the Board. Each planning application has a story of its own and has to be seen, evalauted and decided on its own merit.

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