The Planning Authority has halted more illegal works at Montekristo Estates, owned by development magnate Charles Polidano, who has already racked up some €700,000 in daily fines on the various illegalities on site.
A spokesman for the PA said its enforcement officers had visited the site upon receipt of questions from Times of Malta and had stopped the construction of two towers on either side of the main gate to the complex.
“The PA’s Compliance and Enforcement Directorate can confirm that works comprising of the placing of marble bases on existing foundations are not covered by a development permission.
“These structures are included in a pending application.
“The site is already subject to active enforcement notices with daily penalties and the developer has been instructed not to proceed with further works and await the final determination of the application. The site will continue to be monitored,” the PA spokesman said.
Contacted about the matter, Polidano Group legal adviser Jean Paul Sammut confirmed that the work was being done without a permit.
“These two rooms are part of the applications filed in 2010. Since the rooms were imported years ago and were produced made to measure to my client’s specifications and designs, an exercise was being made to ensure that the workmanship on designs matches,” he said.
Asked about pending enforcement action and illegalities on the entire site, Sammut noted there were around 20 pending civil cases and one pending case before the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction.
All the pending cases are contestations of the enforcement notices issued by the Planning Authority over the years. In November 2013, the Planning Authority had descended on the large site in Ħal-Farruġ accompanied by soldiers and police officers armed with automatic weapons. However, the PA’s hope of demolishing the illegalities on site was short lived after Polidano obtained a court injunction to stop the direct action.
The PA had said at the time that according to their estimates, illegal construction work in the area, owned by iċ-Ċaqnu, covered around 64,000 square metres of land. It had said that illegalities were covered by enforcement notices, many of which had already been in force for years.
Among the illegal structures targeted by the PA at the time were a replica of a Knights of Malta tower, a classical-style building and a four-storey edifice with a pool being used as a cafeteria.
Asked which illegalities had been removed since then, Sammut said his client “carried out works according to instructions received”, including the embellishment of different areas, planting of trees and landscaping.
“After 11 years and 10 years, respectively, on four pending applications which were paid up in full, we hope that following the constitutional case the authority will move on and decide on the pending applications,” Sammut said.
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