Mepa is in the final stages of proposing an amnesty to sanction long-standing illegal developments. The scheme is meant to wipe out a substantial chunk of Mepa’s pending enforcement cases, which number about 10,000, and to rake in more than €20 million.

While acknowledging that the authority had done a lot of work on the proposal, Mepa CEO Johann Buttigieg insisted it had not yet been presented to the board or Cabinet.

Applicants will be expected to pay a one-time fee, that is heftier than the current sanctioning charges, through an online portal and file a series of documents, such as site plans.

However the outcome is not guaranteed. The application will go to a board and only if it is given the green light, according to certain criteria, will the property be regularised.

The scheme will apply to all infringements that took place before 2013 and those outside development zones that took place before the full establishment of the planning authority in 1994.

There will also be some restrictions on the change of use without permission of properties used by sprayers or mechanics in residential areas.  The scheme will not apply to the Armier boathouses because applicants have to produce a certificate of ownership.  

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