PD, PN and AD condemn development plans for old Mtarfa hospital

Godfrey Farrugia hits out at government for not consulting with Mtarfa residents over development plans for former hospitals 

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
29 May 2017, 6:53pm
Partit Demokratiku condemns development plans for old Mtarfa hospital
Partit Demokratiku condemns development plans for old Mtarfa hospital
The Partit Demokratiku has criticised plans to convert the former Mtarfa military hospital and secondary school into an international school, and an adjacent former isolation hospital into an old people's home.

PD candidate and former Labour whip Godfrey Farrugia told a press conference outside the scheduled buildings that his party has no problem with the development of an international school in Mtarfa but that the government should have consulted residents before announcing its Expression of Interest for the site.

"The old school hall is used for town meetings and for activities by the Drama Group, and the Mtarfa Football Club's ground is on the site too, and yet residents only found out about the government's plans through the media," he said.

"We are in favour of a bottom-up approach to government, and if this really is a government that listens then it should have first consulted with Mtarfa residents and then sought an alternative site for the school."

Mtarfa resident Anton Mifsud said that the old building should be restored and handed to the local council to be used as a civic centre or a library. 

Moreover, he warned that the development plans for the conversion of the adjacent isolation hospital into an old people's home will see an extra storey added to the historical building as well as two storeys below it, and involve the take-up of land outside development zones.

He circulated a letter that four Mtarfa residents had sent to all candidates contesting on the seventh district, in which they warned that the planned old people's home will destroy the environment and lead to excess noise and traffic in the area.

In a joint response, all 13 PN and PD candidates said they were against the project because it breaches development laws and involves the take-up of ODZ land and because residents hadn't been consulted about it. AD candidate Ralph Cassar also opposed the project on the grounds that it will ruin a historical building. 

Mifsud said that PL candidate Charles Azzopardi had told him over the telephone that he personally disagrees with the plan, but that all other PL candidates ignored his letter.