Developers claim shortage of modern fuel stations in bid for new Luqa pump

Despite three petrol stations within 1.2km radius, a new Qormi Hill pump is being justified as a way 'to address the shortage of modern fuel stations'

james
James Debono
3 March 2017, 8:00am
The new petrol station is being proposed by Raymond Brincat, and will include a service station, a small shop, a tyre service Garage, VRT Garage, ATM, car wash facilities and PV panels at roof level
The new petrol station is being proposed by Raymond Brincat, and will include a service station, a small shop, a tyre service Garage, VRT Garage, ATM, car wash facilities and PV panels at roof level
A new 3,000 sq.m. petrol station along Triq Hal Qormi – the hill leading from Qormi to Luqa adjacent to the Water Services Corporation – is being justified as a way “to address the shortage of modern fuel stations” in this part of Malta and cater for the demand of fuel “due to the ever increasing number of vehicles on the roads”.

But already three fuel stations exist in the radius of 1.2km in the vicinity of the proposed fuel station, a project development statement by the developer’s environmental consultants admits.

The new petrol station is being proposed by Raymond Brincat, and will include a service station, a small shop, a tyre service Garage, VRT Garage, ATM, car wash facilities and PV panels at roof level. The project will result in the excavation of 1,500 cubic metres of soil outside development zones.

Further downhill from the site is the J. Gaff Service Station of Qormi, the G Darmanin Service Station on Valletta Road, Luqa, and the F&A Magro Service Station found at Airport Road, Luqa. Only the J. Gaff Service Station has facilities similar to the one being proposed.

The proposed development site is at present mainly made up of a couple of adjacent fields, which are currently abandoned, and a small agricultural room, which is dilapidated, and without a ceiling. 

The report claims that the visual impact on the surrounding landscape should be limited because tall trees in adjacent fields could easily obscure the development from various points. “The use of earth colours should further attenuate any remaining impacts,” the PDS states.

The Environment and Resources Authority is objecting to the new development because it encroaches beyond the development zone boundary onto a rural area. 

The ERA is insisting that there is no valid justification for the further loss of undeveloped rural land and associated environmental impacts to accommodate such commercial use. “There is also significant concern regarding the cumulative environmental impact caused by the numerous ad hoc proposals for petrol stations currently being proposed on ODZ land.” 

In 2014 the Planning Authority approved a policy that allows the relocation of existing petrol stations onto land outside development zones and for the construction of brand new petrol stations in ODZ areas if they are opposite or adjacent to industrial areas.

The sale of petrol pump licenses for their relocation from towns to ODZ areas is big business, since the new petrol pumps are accorded wider floor space to accommodate larger facilities.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...