Work continues on a farmhouse in Żejtun served an enforcement notice because of infringements but developer Patrick Dalli claims he has no idea workers are on site.

Work has been proceeding on the site for at least a week but Mr Dalli, husband of Consumer Affairs Minister Helena Dalli, told Times of Malta he had no knowledge of it. Mr Dalli questioned whether he was being singled out because of who he was.

“To tell you the truth I didn’t know I had workmen on site.

“I had signed a promise of sale agreement on that property so I haven’t paid attention.

To tell you the truth I didn’t know I had workmen on site

“Why is it important for Times of Malta to ask me? Is there something behind it? Is it because of who I am?” Mr Dalli said.

It was pointed out to him that journalists have a responsibility to get all sides of the story and therefore he was being treated in the same way as anyone else.

He was asked to explain how work was proceeding on site despite an enforcement notice having been issued by the planning authority and an application to sanction infringements on site that is still awaiting a decision.

“Oh, so you happened to call me,” he replied.

“Well, you have your rights and I have mine. Tell me again who you are?” Mr Dalli asked.

The infringements on site include the construction of a swimming pool larger than stated in the permit as well as excavations in the garden’s paved area and under the living room to create a basement garage.

The planning authority notice refers also to change of use of the second bedroom and the creation of a staircase from the first floor to the roof.

A washroom at roof level was built that was larger than permitted plus an additional two rooms and a corridor on the same level that were not authorised.

A skylight was also created without a permit, and an additional supporting wall was built at the back of the building higher than permitted, according to the enforcement notice.

The site in question is located outside the development zone (ODZ) within the area known as Ħal Tmien, limits of Żejtun.

It lies adjacent to a cluster of buildings identified as a category two settlement – a small part of the building falls within the boundary of this settlement.

An application submitted in 2012 requests the planning authority to sanction the unauthorised interventions. In the process, the ODZ policy was revised, so Mr Dalli’s architect requested a suspension of the decision so the application could be considered under the new rules.

The planning authority’s case officer still recommended refusal, because certain criteria were not met. But until that decision is taken, work on site continues.

The case officer’s report notes that the new ODZ policy requires careful consideration of the area to be extended in relation to the size and proportions of the original site.

The report also points out the new policy allows for the construction of minor extensions to existing buildings so long as they do not increase the overall existing floor space to over 150 square metres. The request for sanctioning involves additional floor space of 120 square metres, resulting in a total building floor space of 350 square metres, according to the case officer’s report.

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