Permits issued by MEPA for the use of land and activities.
These are the newly revised classes with less red tape and limitations. The new Use Classes Order which came into effect in 2014.
Last year the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) issued a legal notice which ensures land uses and activities would be accurately and more efficiently monitored in order to encompass the changing needs of Malta’s diverse economy.
This legal notice (LN 53 of 1994) will now be entirely replaced. This will be published in a new Development Planning (Use Classes) Order the Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Simplification of Administrative Processes in consultation with Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA).
Since the legal notice is over 20 years old it was in dire need of an overhaul. Last year’s circular had brought to light that it was no longer compulsory requirement to have a full development permit for all permits issued; it is now a notification procedure. The Use of Class has also been divided into eight main categories. These are Dwellings or Residential, Social, Tourism and Leisure, Commercial, Industrial, Storage and Distribution, Agriculture and Aquaculture.
Currently the legal notice allows changes of Use Classes through a simple development notification in certain categories. www.mepa.org.mt issued an article on 17th January 2015 stating: “a change of use from a school (Class 2C) to an old people’s home (Class 2A) there is still need for full development permission, while for a change of use from a retail outlet (Class 4B) to an office (Class 4A) a simple development notification is sufficient. While the same procedure will also apply for a change of use from a hotel (Class 3B) to a guest house (Class 3A) prior clearance from the Malta Tourism Authority will be required in this case.” This is a great example to put this update into perspective.
There is also a new list of development planning uses which do not fall within any of the 8 categories. This is called the Outside Use Class list. The most popular Use Class would probably be Supermarkets, Bakeries and Discotheques; however this also includes band clubs, fireworks factories and arcades. Any category in this list would require a full development permit.
With regards to Class 1, this will still categorise Residential / dwelling however the new Use Classes Order will outline the ‘work from home’ procedure in a more efficient manner. This will make it more attractive and at the same time more controlled.
There has also been an introduction of the concept of ‘lodging’. This is a fantastic improvement in the accommodation industry, especially considering Malta’s increase in tourism popularity. This is targeted for hosting short term accommodation for up to 16 persons in an Urban Conservation Area. This would require a license from the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) mainly due to safety procedure and EU standards.
Malta previously had one class for all catering establishments. This was the famous Class 6. This stated that food could be cooked and served onsite. This has now been divided into 2 different Use Classes. One of which is Class 4C and the other is Class 4D. Class 4C does not allow cooking on site where as Class 4D does. Keep in mind packaging and food preparation is not classified as cooking. Takeaways, pastizzerias and movable kiosks have been taken out of this category and moved to the classified list under article 4. This is due to persisting environmental issues such as pollution and opening hours.
For further information regarding Use Classes for establishments or a full list of Use Class permits kindly contact our offices on 20108666 to set up an appointment.