Planning tribunal rejects development plans for Ħondoq / Malta News Briefing – Thursday 3 November 2022

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Afternoon Update

The Times of Malta reports that planning tribunal has shot down developers’ appeal to forge ahead with development in Ħondoq bay, closing the chapter on this saga.

Maltatoday says that according to Repubblika’s lawyer, Repubblika lawyer: Pilatus inquiry cost €3.5 million more in foreign legal fees.

The Malta Independent says that police inspections in Xewkija led officers to discover 10 person living in the country illegally, the police aid in a statement.

Newsbook reports that a contractor has been sentenced to two years in prison, after the Court of appeal found him responsible for the death of two women through the collapse of a St Paul’s Bay apartment block back in 2004.

Updated 1245

Former Labour Minister claims he was unaware of implications by Degiorgio brothers: Testifying in libel proceedings instituted against Jason Azzopardi over a Facebook post in April last year, former Labour minister Carmelo Abela said that  he “did not know” that the Degiorgio brothers had named him in a letter they wrote to the European Commissioner for Justice claiming they had information implicating him and a previous minister in past crimes. “I don’t know that they mentioned me, but I know that there was a letter to [Justice Commissioner] Reynders,” told the court. Jason Azzopardi had alleged that former PN MP claimed that Abela had aided the mastermind behind a botched armed robbery at the HSBC headquarters in 2010.

High expectation for decision on Ħondoq’s fate: Ħondoq ir-Rummien’s fate will be determined today with the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal with developers seeking to turn a disused quarry in the area in to a mega development, in what is practically a while new village located outside development zones. The project includes a hotel, self-catering villas, apartments and shops. Plans for a yacht marina were scrapped. Both major political parties are now opposed to the project. 

Budget speeches expose credibility differences – PL: The Labour Party stated that the budget reactions speeches have exposed the difference in credibility between Prime Minister Robert Abela and Opposition Leader Bernard Grech. In a media briefing, Labour Party Deputy Leader Daniel Micallef said that the Prime Minister’s address will continue to offer certainty and stability in the country, adding that on the other hand, the Opposition Leader’s address is proof that the Nationalist Party can never offer a vision for the country. Micallef said that the certainty of the budget for next year offers serenity for the people to be able to plan their future.

Morning Briefing

Caritas inaugurates new Community Centre in Hamrun

The Caritas Community Centre at Ħamrun has been inaugurated after an investment of €3 million from Curia, private and Government funding. This is the first Caritas Centre of its kind and will offer support and prevention services for families and individuals undergoing difficult times. Caritas Director Anthony Gatt said the centre will follow the philosophy that in poverty and weakness deserve better. The Curia provided the building, €2 million came from EU Social Funds for National Development and €700,000 from the Fondazzjoni Alf Mizzi. (TVM)

PN MP claims that Minister’s father was go-to-guy for permit recommendations

The father of Planning Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi was the ‘go-to guy’ for architects seeking a favourable recommendation for planning permits from the heritage watchdog, Julie Zahra claimed. Speaking in Parliament during the debate on the financial estimates for the culture and heritage ministry, the PN MP aimed that Joe Zrinzo, who was until recently a member of the Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee, was the person that architects approached to try and influence decisions of the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage. (Maltatoday)

NAO raises concerns on state of Mount Carmel facility

The National Audit Office (NAO) expressed concern at the condition of wards at the Mount Carmel mental health facility, noting that while half of the wards are being refurbished, the rest remain in poor condition. In a report, the Office said that nine of the hospital’s wards are still in a questionable state (also to different extents), adding that “such an environment undoubtedly still impinges on the patients’ and staff’s overall wellbeing.” The report noted that the NAO “also remains concerned about the unsuccessful attempt to secure a temporary acute hospital to relocate patients from MCH, but recognises efforts undertaken so that MCH itself is rendered safer and better suited for mental health patients.” (Newsbook)

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