Times of Malta, 3rd March 2008 – The Malta Chamber of Planners said this morning that the permit issued for the Safi supermarket could be withdrawn under existing legislation.

The granting of the permit was strongly criticized by the Mepa auditor last week and Development Control Commission A subsequently resigned.The Chamber said that, inexplicably, the DCC’s justification for the permit was based on the premise that Kirkop, Safi, Zurrieq, Qrendi and Mqabba had to have a supermarket. For DCC A this development did not conflict with agricultural policy and provided an essential service to the communities of the surrounding villages, the Chamber said.

The Chamber said these were not isolated villages and it therefore did not see the essential need referred to.

“Apparently, the controversial approval of the nearby Luqa supermarket (same supermarket franchise as the one in Safi) and another in Qormi, curiously approved despite taking up land designated for industrial use, did not suffice.”

The Chamber said the decision was in breach of the Development Planning Act 1992, Article 13 (5) which requires specific planning reasons in order to overturn decisions of the Planning Directorate. Failing to do so would trigger Article 39A (revocation of permit) which allows the authority to revoke a permit.