Developer Sandro Chetcuti on Friday emphasised the need for better planning in the construction sector.

Addressing a KPMG property conference, Chetcuti warned that without a long-term sustainable plan, progress may actually turn into regress.

“There needs to be an equilibrium. There is a need for balance. If the local plans need to be revised, if certain policies need to be changed, let us take the necessary decisions,” Chetcuti said.

Local plans dictate what forms of development are allowed in different geographical areas. They were most recently updated in 2006. The government said in 2013 that it was in the process of revising them. It has so far failed to do so

Chetcuti served as chairman of the Malta Developers Association between 2014 and 2021. He now chairs a government property foundation.

Speaking during Friday's event, he said the sustainable plan Malta needs should not stop at property and construction.

This “holistic plan” should include the continued embellishment of localities, cutting red tape and offering strong incentives to investors.

Chetcuti said the property sector is vital for Malta’s economy.

He said those who had invested in property had always seen good returns, and despite the island’s physical limitations, it had always managed to attract investors who formed a bond with Malta.

Both Malta and Gozo have over the past decade been feeling the pressure of constant construction.

In August, a survey by the Gozo Tourism Association found that 91% of respondents believe the island is losing its charm and characteristics to overdevelopment.

"The survey confirmed the tourism sector in Gozo is seriously concerned about the over-development in Gozo," the association said.

Addressing the same conference, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said the government needs to be close to stakeholders in what he described as an important industry.

Schembri said the government needs to be “even closer” to these stakeholders, to ensure the sector continues to be a success whilst ensuring sustainability.

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