Plans for Russian Orthodox church in Kappara revived

An application has been submitted to the Planning Authority for the construction of a Russian Orthodox Church on a site in Triq Wied Ghollieqa, adjacent to Wied Ghollieqa Nature Reserve in Kappara. 

File photo: Malta’s Russian Orthodox Church seeks construction of new church in Kappara
File photo: Malta’s Russian Orthodox Church seeks construction of new church in Kappara

An application has been submitted to the Planning Authority for the construction of a Russian Orthodox Church on a site in Triq Wied Ghollieqa, adjacent to Wied Ghollieqa Nature Reserve in Kappara. 

The proposed development includes the construction of the actual church, one level of basement parking for 14 cars, as well as “ancillary facilities to the church, including stores and living quarters and multi-purpose rooms”.

Back in 2004, Alexandre Kuryshev, the head of Malta’s St Paul’s Orthodox parish, had submitted a similar application for the same site. Despite being recommended for refusal, an outline permit had been granted, however the development never took place. 

Kurt Guillaumier, San Gwann local council executive secretary, said when contacted by MaltaToday that the council had yet to discuss the matter, first at committee stage and then at council stage. The council meets in two weeks’ time to discuss whether or not to file an objection to the proposal. 

The public can submit objections to the development, however Guillaumier said the council had so far not received any objections. “In reality, any development will bother some people, irrespective of whether it’s a shop or office block, or a church,” he said.

Guillaumier said that while he was unware any objections, he could not exclude the possibility of residents having voiced concerns with individual councillors. “We will be meeting next Tuesday and I’m sure that if there have been any complaints, they will be put forward,” he said, adding however that the council could not simply object to the development on the basis of residents’ complaints. 

He said the council must represent residents in the area, but also stand for a common-sense approach, with any objection being based on a “reasoned argument”.

Guillaumier said while people would tend to be against developments “next door” to them, the church would not cause enough of a disruption to the area to merit an objection.

One such example, said Guillaumier was the proposed old people’s home development in Wied Ghomor.  “We met with Swieqi and St Julian’s councils and decided we would object to any proposed developments because it is a green area and a lung to the community and we feel it must be protected,” he said.

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