The abandoned Jerma hotel in Marsascala will remain in its current state of decay after its owners succeeded in overturning an order for its demolition.

The Planning Authority issued an enforcement order against owners Jeffrey and Peter Montebello in August 2016, requiring that the “injury to amenity” be addressed after years of complaints by the local council and residents over the dangerous state of the site.

Read: No change at abandoned Jerma Palace hotel site despite PA fanfare

However, the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal on Thursday upheld an appeal by the owners and annulled the enforcement order.

The reasons behind the decision had not been made public by the time of publication.

The tribunal’s ruling means that the structure can remain in place until the owners, who have long sought to redevelop the site, decide otherwise - without facing any fines or other measures.

A planning application to develop a hotel and luxury apartments on the Jerma site was filed in 2008, a year after the hotel closed its doors to business, but the plans were dropped due to financial troubles.

Read: Developers announce plans to build luxury hotel, apartments on Jerma site

An attempt to sell the hotel site by court auction in October 2016 was unsuccessful after HSBC, which asked for the sale, called on the court to postpone the process since it wanted to re-evaluate the situation.

A court expert had valued the former hotel and its surrounding land at €20.8 million. It would cost €1.5 million to demolish the building.

The Jerma Palace Hotel and its surrounding land covers an area of 38,745 square metres – almost the size of five-and-a-half football pitches.

Another application for the construction of three towers on the peninsula – the tallest rising to 44 storeys – failed to get off the ground after the PA said the construction of high-rise buildings and the reclamation of land from the sea were non-starters.

Last December, the Marsascala local council voted to support a new proposal of a 13-storey hotel and residential development on the site but no application has so far been published by the PA.

The Jerma Palace Hotel was once Malta’s most prestigious hotel in the south. Then the biggest in Malta with 700 beds, it was opened in 1982.

It had taken three years to build and cost €16.3 million. Until it closed,jerma it was operated by the Corinthia chain.