Naxxar elderly home: ERA had warned of precedent, now more land could be developed

A new, three-storey home for the elderly is being proposed just 200 metres away from another home in the so called ‘strategic open gap’ that lies between Naxxar and Gharghur

The photo shows the former broiler farm (rectangular structure in the middle of the fields) that lies just off the road where the PA approved the construction of an old people's home just next to the crossroad
The photo shows the former broiler farm (rectangular structure in the middle of the fields) that lies just off the road where the PA approved the construction of an old people's home just next to the crossroad

A new, three-storey home for the elderly is being proposed just 200 metres away from another home in the so called ‘strategic open gap’ that lies between Naxxar and Gharghur.

The Environment and Resources Authority is objecting to the proposal, which will replace a disused rural building with a 2,700sq.m home in what is land outside the development zones on Triq San Gwann, Naxxar.

The local plan prohibits any urban development, except for small scale utility infrastructure, and the area is also identified as an area of agricultural value, being surrounded by open agricultural land.

The developers say the complex was formerly used as a broiler farm.

The other old people’s home was granted planning permission in 2017. An environmental impact assessment had then warned the development would severely impact the surrounding landscape, and was objected to by the ERA, which said it would give rise to a precedent for similar developments within the rural area.

But despite ERA’s negative recommendation, the development permit was still issued. Now the ERA is saying the latest proposal vindicates its position against the development approved in 2017. “Once a permit is granted for an urban development outside the development zone, similar consequential development will follow. These open up development pressures in the surrounding area resulting in a cumulative impact on the environment, within a small radius.”

The site in question is even more geographically distant from the development limits, which the ERA says will mean a more significant and extensive impact than the completed elderly home.

The Naxxar home proposed outside development zones is a former broiler farm site outside the development zones, and just 200m from the Golden Care home for the elderly which ERA had already warned would set precedent for further development
The Naxxar home proposed outside development zones is a former broiler farm site outside the development zones, and just 200m from the Golden Care home for the elderly which ERA had already warned would set precedent for further development

ERA is insisting the proposal does not merit further assessment through EIA studies. “It is wrong in principle, creating unacceptable impacts like rural land uptake, intensification and proliferation of physical development and site formalization at the expense of the countryside.”

The owner and developer of the site, Marlon Brincat, has been involved in elderly care operations for the past ten years. The proposal is directed at catering for the ongoing demand for care homes due to Malta’s increasingly ageing population.

While the area in question is located outside development zones, the owner says the site is a “committed urban development area” which he wants developed into “more economically feasible land use… Every effort will be made to ensure that the new development will contribute to, rather than detract from, the environmental integrity of the surrounding land uses.”

The proposed development will provide parking for visitors, and a landscaping scheme.

The Strategic Plan for Environment and Planning permits the development of old people’s homes in ODZ as long as a sequential approach is used and sites within development zones are first considered. A site selection exercise carried by the developers is still unavailable to the public.

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