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Front Ħarsien ODZ criticises developer’s ‘threatening’ tone

Front Ħarsien ODZ has called on the Planning Tribunal to turn down three proposed developments in or around Wied Ghomor, including the application of a retirement home in an outside development zone

jeanelle_mifsud
Jeanelle Mifsud
21 September 2016, 12:53pm
An application to develop a 133-room retirement home and ancillary facilities in a disused quarry located outside development zones in Wied Ghomor was unanimously turned down by the PA board
An application to develop a 133-room retirement home and ancillary facilities in a disused quarry located outside development zones in Wied Ghomor was unanimously turned down by the PA board
Front Ħarsien ODZ has emphasised the importance of objective and transparent processes for the approval of development permits.

“Permits for such activities must be granted through an objective and transparent process via the relevant authorities. Developers must not be allowed to think that Maltese citizens will be held to ransom by their threats,” Front said in a statement.

The Front was reacting to comments made by developer Laurence Galea, whose controversial application for the development of a 133-room retirement home and ancillary facilities in a disused quarry which is located outside development zones in Wied Ghomor was unanimously refused by board members of the Planning Authority despite having been recommended for approval.

The board had cited breaches of a number of thematic objectives set out in the approved Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development.

“The quarry remains operational, so residents have two options: enduring a quarry for the next 10 or 20 years or an old people’s home with just four tumoli of buildings and the rest as open space,” Galea had told the Times of Malta on 31 August, the day before the first hearing for his appeal.

The next hearing will be held on 22 November.

Front also called on the Planning Tribunal to uphold the board’s decision in the upcoming appeals hearing for the proposal. It added that the same should be done for two other proposed developments in or around the same area.

“All three application should be refused on the grounds that they are located outside development zones, on agricultural land with significant natural vegetation, and in a system of valleys which are protected as areas of ecological importance and sites of scientific importance,” the eNGO said.

The other applications Front was referring included the extension of a private villa and the addition of a swimming pool, the appeal for which will be heard on 22 September. “It should be refused again, given that the existing structure is illegal,” the Front said.

Front also objected to the construction of a two-floor extension, swimming pool, cesspit and reservoir adjacent to a farmhouse. The hearing for the appeal to this proposal is to be heard on 6 October.

“There is a worrying increase in the reliance upon affidavits to determine past use of property. Determining whether a property was once used as a residence should depend upon clear and transparent processes, and not upon any individual’s memory and/or integrity,” Front said.

Front added that it will be attending the hearings.

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