PA approves Portelli mega development in Sannat

The development forsees the construction of swimming pools and decking on ODZ land

The Planning Authority voted to approve an application to build a block of 125 apartments just 300 metres from the cliff edge in Sannat, Gozo.

The block, proposed by Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli, lists known Portelli partners Mark Agius (Ta’ Dirjanu), Samuel Saliba and Joseph Vella as applicants for the blocks.

The commission voted to approve PA/02087/21, filed by Agius to build 73 flats and 60 garages in Sannat.

Three separate applications (PA/02035/2, PA/02087/21 and PA/05048/20) had been filed in an attempt to avoid the scrutiny necessary for a single massive development.

This was flagged by activists during the hearing. Between all three applications, the development will see 125 apartments created just 300 metres from the cliff edge.

All three members of the board voted in favour of the permit despite several concerns brough forward during the sitting. Someone shouted "viva l-korruzjoni", another objector accused the board of approving the application because Joseph Portelli is a billionaire.

The two other applications in the development have already been approved by the commission, despite the PA's own case officer recommending the applications for refusal.

Several objectors flagged that the development was split into three applications, but Stephania Baldacchino, who chairs the board, tried to play down the objection by arguing that it was not within the board's remit to decide on such matters.

Saviour Micallef, the architect for the project, denied splitting up any applications to bypass scrutiny. 

The development foresees the construction of swimming pools and decking on ODZ land, with the approval of these applications set to present the opportunity for further take-up of fresh land. This new invasion in ODZ land will not only come at the expense of a scenic clifftop, but also set the precedent for the take-up of more green spaces.

All three applications violate height restrictions and will engulf Sannat, ruining the serene village, increasing traffic and congestion, and affecting people’s enjoyment of sunlight in their homes.