Ramla appeal hearing deferred till November - http://www.independent.com.mt/
by FRANCESCA VELLA
The Ramla l-Hamra saga continues. An appeal filed by the applicants of the controversial development was deferred till November yesterday, because the developers failed to pay the full fee required upon filing an appeal.
The authority had granted the permit for the development of Ulysses Lodge overlooking the breathtaking bay on the northern coast of Gozo, but revoked it in October last year, after it was found that part of the land earmarked for the development was actually public land.
Yesterday, during a hearing presided over by Planning Appeals Board chairperson Ian Spiteri Bailey, chief lawyer of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (Mepa) Anthony Degaetano pointed out that the applicants had failed to pay the full fee upon filing the appeal.
The hearing was deferred till the 28 November, when it is hoped that the Planning Appeals Board would take a final decision on the appeal.
Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) secretary general Victor Galea, Labour MP Justyne Caruana, as well as representatives from environment NGOs Flimkien ghal-Ambjent Ahjar (FAA) and the Ramblers' Association, were all ears during yesterday's hearing, and a small group of Gozitan residents, mainly foreigners, gathered outside the Gozo University Centre, before the hearing began, to demonstrate against the development.
The full development permit granted by Mepa would have converted Ulysses Lodge, situated in the site known as Ta' Marin, limits of Xaghra, into a 23-unit villa tourist complex.
Both the outline and the full development permits were revoked on the basis of Article 39A of the Planning Development Act, which states that the authority may, where there are cases of fraud, error on the face of the record or an issue of public safety, withdraw or modify a permit which has been approved.
Mepa's legal office had found sufficient evidence regarding inaccuracies to the ownership declarations and it maintained that part of the land on the property is registered as public at the Land Registry.
However, the permit could still be granted should the applicants change plan and earmark a different part of the land (not comprising the public land) for development .
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