Public consultation over a controversial proposal to amend height limitations closed abruptly on Monday, despite a Planning Ministry spokesperson telling Times of Malta feedback about the policy is welcome until the end of the day.

On Monday, those who referred to the public consultation website for guidance on how to submit their feedback about the proposal found that the consultation had closed at least 12 hours before the official deadline. 

The Planning Authority launched a consultation to amend a policy in Development Control Design Policy, Guidance and Standards - a controversial document commonly known as the DC15.

Previously, height limitations were set by the number of floors that could be built in any given area, as set out by the local plans. However, an annexe included in DC15, Annexe 2, laid out a table in which the maximum allowable heights of buildings previously indicated as floors, had now been converted into metres. 

Should the amendments to policy 35 of DC15, which regulates allowable building height, be accepted, it will formalise this interpretation of the guidelines. 

Public Consultation website on Monday morning Photo: PA WebsitePublic Consultation website on Monday morning Photo: PA Website

Public consultation was set to close at midnight - at the end of Monday.

Astrid Vella, from Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar was on an RTK103 radio programme on Monday morning, urging people to contribute to the public consultation when a listener informed her the consultation had closed.

She claimed "the sudden and unannounced closure of the consultation at 10am reveals the sham nature of the consultation process and the motivations behind it".

When asked to clarify whether consultation had closed, a Planning Ministry spokesperson told Times of Malta “The PA can confirm that the public consultation will close at midnight tonight”.

As of 5pm, the website is still showing the consultation as closed.

However, NGOs are encouraging people to continue emailing their concern to

Din l-Art Ħelwa’s President, Patrick Calleja meanwhile said that if consultation was still open, the authorities should update the public consultation website so as to avoid confusion among people who wanted to submit feedback.

Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Għawdix and Moviment Graffiti have all spoken out against the proposed policy amendment.

Għawdix's outlining of what the proposed amendment would look like. Photo: Għawdix FacebookGħawdix's outlining of what the proposed amendment would look like. Photo: Għawdix Facebook

Calleja warned the proposal would undermine recent court decisions.

Additionally, "adopting this amendment could change the whole aspect of current streetscapes with just two or three floors, especially if the area happens to be on the border of a UCA". 

In a statement, Għawdix said that by "potentially expanding the allowable number of building levels for various facade heights, the revision of P35 risks encouraging developers to maximize building heights, further straining local services and diminishing the quality of life for residents."

"This approach undermines the original intent of DC15, which was to promote a context-driven approach to development rather than a one-size-fits-all height allowance.”

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