A recently upgraded football ground in Mosta, which has long been the object of residents’ ire, was slapped with an enforcement notice for work done without a permit.

It seems residents preferred to leave the pitch as it was before, with dust flying at every gust of wind

The notice was issued after residents complained about work not having been done in line with the permit issued by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority in 2009.

The irregular work included the “illegal change of use of approved space turning the area that should have served as the foundations for the spectator stands into changing rooms, showers, toilets, a bar and meeting rooms, the planning authority said.

Also, a fence separating spectators from the players was replaced with glass panes, metal poles were used instead of railings, green netting was placed along the perimeter fence and plastic seats were installed where a concrete seating area should have been constructed.

The ground in Valletta Road, corner with Manwella Street, owned by Mosta Football Club, was previously a gravel pitch but synthetic turf was installed at a cost of more than €465,000. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi in November 2010.

Residents who spoke to The Times complained about “shabby-looking” green fencing attached to the perimeter fence and about containers which were being used as mobile offices and a ticket booth. When The Times went on site, two of the containers were on the pavement while one was occupying three parking spaces in the parking area adjacent to the football pitch.

The pitch is now being used on the weekends for competitive matches and the residents said the containers made parking close to impossible during these games.

Mosta FC president George Galea said the club had submitted an application to sanction the changes.

He said the green netting had been installed for “privacy” – to prevent people from watching competitive matches free of charge.

Mr Galea hit out at the residents who “complained about every single thing” since the club decided to upgrade it and install synthetic turf.

“It seems residents preferred to leave the pitch as it was before, with dust flying at every gust of wind. They are even complaining that we placed plastic seating on the spectator stand. Can you believe it? I think they will still complain if we propose covering the pitch in gold. Come here on Saturdays and see 400 to 500 kids training. This is why we upgraded it.”

With regard to the containers, Mr Galea said these were temporary and were replacing office space which was still being built. He said these were covered by a police permit until the end of the year.


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