Motorists are being warned not to use several parking bays on a busy Naxxar road after a private company put up reserved parking signs.

For years, motorists have freely parked on St Paul’s Street in Naxxar in the six bays in front of Attard Bros Properties, formerly occupied by a GO telecommunications store.

But recently, motorists were met with signs warning that the bays are private property and that unauthorised parking is not allowed.

The signs were met with concern by some residents, however, who complained the parking bays had been freely available for years and questioned Malta Properties’ claim to them.

The bays used to be freely available to park in. Photo: Google Maps.Now, only authorised vehicles are allowed in the bays. Photo: Jonathan Borg.
Before (L) and after (R) the signs were added. Photos: Google Maps/Jonathan Borg.

Responding to the concerns on Tuesday, the company behind the signs, Malta Properties, said it had “taken note of posts on social media” but rejected the “implication” it had "taken over” public land, instead stressing it owned the land.

“We would like to clarify and confirm that these signs are affixed in an area which is privately owned by MPC [Malta Properties] in terms of contracts entered into several years ago. The area in question is not 'public land’”, it said.

“Prior to the installation of the signs, we had discussions with the Naxxar local council and provided documentation that clearly shows that this land is owned by MPC”, the company said, adding the documents in question were available to view on request at the company’s offices or at the local council.

When contacted, Naxxar local council confirmed the company had produced documents dating back to the Mintoff era which “seemed to prove" it owned the land.

“We still need to go through all the details of the contract to make sure everything is correct, but it appears to be,” said Naxxar local council executive secretary Paul Gatt.

He added the council was in discussions with Malta Properties in the hope of reaching an agreement to allow residents to park in the bays outside of business hours.

Parking has proved to be a contentious issue in Malta as the country's population and the number of cars on the road have both continued to grow.

In April, Prime Minister Robert Abela called for a total overhaul of the parking system in Valletta, because spaces reserved for residents were not enough to meet demand.

And just last month, Gudja took the unusual step of restricting parking on 14 of the town’s streets between 7am and 8pm for non-residents, in a bid to stop airport-goers from leaving their cars in the town while abroad.

By the end of March, there were almost 440,000 vehicles – around 325,000 of which were cars – in Malta, with more than 62 more vehicles being added to the roads every day, according to the National Statistics Office.

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