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MDA insists its Budget proposals as agreed before general election

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

The Malta Developers Association presented a substantial document with concrete proposals for Budget 2018, some of which can be implemented immediately.

MDA President Sandro Chetcuti, who headed a delegation of Council members, augured that the Prime Minister and his Government would continue to achieve further progress and success in its endeavours to take the country to the next level. He praised Government’s initiatives that have truly brought the best of times in terms of employment and a booming economy.

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Both PN leadership contenders request meeting with MDA

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

The two Nationalist Party leadership contenders, Dr Adrian Delia and Dr Chris Said, held separate meetings with the Malta Developers Association Council. The meetings, held at the request of the two candidates, turned out to be two long, fruitful discussions.

Both Dr Delia and Dr Said acknowledged the good work of the MDA and its highly valid contribution to the country.

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SUBMISSIONS ON STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES OF SPED

The Malta Developers Association has officially submitted the following comments to MEPA as part of the public consultation exercise following its publication of a draft document setting out the strategic objectives of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED). These submissions reflect the discussions carried out on the issue in the MDA Council as well in the BICC.

Basically, the strategic objectives set out in the draft document should not be unduly controversial. However we feel we have to point out the following comments:

1. The time-frame for the finalisation of SPED is too short and such an important document merits more discussion between all interested parties. The time allotted for the second stage – the drafting and the eventual finalisation of SPED – is certainly too short.
2. The launching of SPED before the publication of the results of the census just carried out by the NSO is contra-indicated. One cannot define proper objectives as the draft documents sets out to do without first scrutinising the current situation. The examination of the current situation is therefore flawed as it is not based on hard facts, as these hard facts are not yet in hand.
3. The issue of vacant properties is one of the more serious issues as far as the current situation is concerned. The document refers to a ‘guess estimate’ of the number if vacant properties in Malta and Gozo. The census results on this figure (which is not yet known) needs to be followed up by a study in which a scientific sample of the vacant properties listed in the census are investigated so that one can arrive at a breakdown of the number of vacant properties, distributed according to the various reasons why the properties are vacant. The actual property situation and the demand and supply equation needs to be researched scientifically before one can set out serious planning objectives in this area. Anything else is just guesswork: one can only keep guessing at what the strategic objectives re development of housing units should be.
4. MEPA has failed to solve the problems resulting from the published approved Local Plans and keeps refusing permits for proposed development that is within the parameters of the approved Local Plans. Attempting to solve this problem after SPED is approved will lead to a prolonged period of instability in the property market as we are in a position where one cannot be certain that a development according to Local Plan parameters will be approved. This means that the value of property within Local Plan areas is uncertain. Hurrying up SPED to solve this problem will lead to more mistakes and the Local Plans issues should be tackled as a priority.
5. Indicating particular policies at this stage – such as has been done in the case of semi-basements and penthouses – is a mistake as it gives the impression that they are the most important polices to be revised. The published document purports to define overall objectives of SPED and policies resulting from these objectives are to be defined later. Otherwise when the actual exercise to establish the SPED document is carried out, one would be faced with a pre-determined fait accompli on particular pre-indicated issues that hinder the freedom of action and choice of policies that should be the starting point of the SPED document.
6. Changing existing policies in a way that decreases the development potential of sites when compared with present situation is a very delicate issue as it could negatively impact on the assets of the private property owner, more so when the property in question would have been bought at a price that reflects the development potential at the time of the purchase. Apart from the inherent injustice in such moves, this also continues to contribute to an exacerbation of the uncertainty in the property market, with negative economic consequences.
7. The document that is to follow the establishment of the strategic objectives of SPED should not contain a plethora of policies and should be as simple as possible. The present situation where there are overlapping and contradictory policies should be avoided.
8. The draft SPED objectives fail to highlight the problem of Gozo’s shrinking economy and effective resident population. There is no mention of a possible permanent link between the islands even though the same Cabinet which approved the document approved the use of EU funding for studies about such a link. The document ignores the possibility of this link materialising during the period when SPED will be in force.

19th April 2012

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