Front calls on Planning Authority to confirm Wied Ghomor permit refusal

Front Harsien ODZ says the Planning Authority to confirm the refusal of a permit for a home for the elderly in the Wied Ghomor quarry and insists government should withhold any permission for development in public land

Paul Cocks
31 August 2016, 10:13am
Government should intervene in Planning Authority decision-making and make it clear that it would withhold any permission for development on public land in Wied Ghomor, between San Gwann and Swieqi, according to the Front Harsien ODZ.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Front called on the Planning Authority to confirm the refusal of a permit for a home for the elderly in the Wied Ghomor quarry and said its representatives would be attending the appeal’s first sitting on Thursday.

“The project was so unacceptable that it was turned down by all 14 Planning Board members; the PA's board's decision reflected the widespread consensus in civil society against development in one of the few green lungs in the area,” the statement read.

“Moreover the project was deemed to be in breach of a number of policies included some in the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development which are aimed at limiting development to the urban area and obliges developers to consider sites within the urban area before making any ODZ proposal”.

The Front noted that during the PA board meeting in May, PA chairman Vince Cassar had confirmed that land registry documentation showed that 3,000 square metres of the site were publicly owned.

“The government is therefore duty bound to inform the developers that it is objecting to any development on its own land,” it said.

The Front also reiterated its belief that the only acceptable way to rehabilitate quarries is through their conversion to agriculture land, afforestation projects and public parks, and pledged its support to the Swieqi and San Gwann local councils who had consistently opposed this development in the ODZ.

“Rather than rehabilitating the quarry, the construction of a 133-room old people’s home would simply introduce urban development right in a protected valley,” it said. “This is simply unacceptable.”

Paul Cocks joined MaltaToday after having spent years working in newspapers with The Times...