Last week, the Environment and Planning Ministry announced that the controversial chairperson of the Planning Commission for Within Development Scheme applications Simon Saliba was replaced by Claude Mallia.

Mr Saliba, a former Labour candidate, had a relatively short tenure dating back to January 2019. His removal follows environmental NGOs’ insistence that Mr Saliba "often openly and aggressively sided with the developers instead of fulfilling his role as an impartial arbitrator".

Things came to a head last July when Mr Saliba cut off an activist’s microphone as she was speaking about a development in Kalkara that came within meters of historic cart ruts.

It is hoped that Mr Mallia’s long service on similar boards will have equipped him with the tools necessary to avoid similar pitfalls.

The eminently qualified new chair obtained an architecture degree from the University of Malta between 1992 and 1997, during which time he also served as president of the Society of Architectural and Civil Engineering Students (SACES).

During his studies Mr Mallia also worked as an assistant architect at the Works Division of Ministry for Environment, spending four years in that role.

He worked at Perit Edwin Mintoff’s studio between 1993 and 2014, supplementing his work there with private practice from 1997 to 2018.

This considerable experience served him well when the incoming Labour government appointed him as a member of the Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee in August 2013. He remained in the role until 2018.

He also served as a substitute member of the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, which hears appeals against decisions of the PA Board and Commissions.

Mr Mallia was also appointed as venue manager for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2015.

He is also a serving board member of the Periti Warranting Board.

Since January 2019, Mr Mallia has sat on the Planning Commission which he now chairs.

Main Image:

Planning Commission - Within Development Scheme Chairperson Claude Mallia

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Written By

Robert Fenech

Robert is curious about the connections that make the world work, and takes a particular interest in the confluence of economy, environment and justice. He can also be found moonlighting as a butler for his big black cat.