Greens Supermarket has defended its decision to carry out works at a garage complex in Mrieħel, saying the premises were in a neglected state and the works carried out did not require a permit.
The supermarket was reacting to an article in the Sunday Times of Malta about a group of residents in an Mrieħel apartment block who are “living in fear” from ongoing construction beneath their homes.
A statement issued by the company said the premises in question were constructed to serve as warehouses and, therefore, no permit for further development or change of use of the property was necessary – “hence no site notice was affixed on site as is required in the case of an application for development”.
Diane Portelli and Rita Spiteri had told Times of Malta that the garages beneath their home on Triq il-Għadam had been bought by Greens Supermarket with the intention of turning them into stores. They had described extensive, unsanctioned works in a large garage complex on which their homes rest.
But the company said: “The premises had been in a derelict state and Greens Supermarket immediately realised that they needed upgrading and tests were necessary to be carried out on the structure which would, of course, serve and benefit the overlying apartments.”
It was emphasised and confirmed that the building is currently not in danger
It added that Greens commissioned a professional firm of architects and structural engineers, experts in such renovations and works, and subsoil investigative work together with substructure design will be carried out in collaboration with a renowned geotechnical engineer “to provide an assessment of the flooring and surfaces and assess all safety aspects”.
It said Greens Supermarket reached out to Spiteri and a letter dated April 30 was sent, where she was assured that works would be carried out according to law.
It said the premises of the residents of the overlying premises were inspected by architects representing the owner of the warehouses following which a condition report was drawn up on April 30 in respect of each residence and a copy was uploaded on the Planning Authority website on June 14 together with the work method statement reports.
“Excavation works were not carried out, but rather, a trial pit was dug (two metres away from the pillars in question) as part of the subsoil investigative work, while the concrete columns supporting the overlying residences were found to have excessive spalling including significantly corroded rebar, but are in no way structurally compromised or dangerous,” it said.
It added that the works intended to be carried out include further exploratory works to confirm the strength or otherwise of the subsoil, and works to reinforce the two columns since special materials have been ordered for this purpose.
“The Excavation Method Statement was submitted on June 14 and is currently being contested by the architect representing the residents, who filed an objection on June 28. Consequently, the works have been halted and Greens Supermarket has reached out to the architect representing the residents in order to explain the technical matters.”
It said a site inspection was held on July 9 which was attended by the residents, their architect, an official from the Planning Authority and representatives and architects representing Greens Supermarket. The statement said it was emphasised and confirmed that the building is currently not in danger and that the architect representing the residents will be informed of the findings following the tests which have yet to be carried out.
The statement was signed by lawyers Tanya Sciberras Camilleri and Darren Carabott.
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