Wied Babu holiday village plans spiked

The owners of the Garden of Eden wedding hall, who also own most of Wied Babu, have withdrawn plans for a holiday village over the site of the hall 

The ERA said the development was being proposed on a makeshift car park, and that the disturbed state of the site could not justify further development
The ERA said the development was being proposed on a makeshift car park, and that the disturbed state of the site could not justify further development

The owners of the Garden of Eden wedding hall, who also own most of Wied Babu, have withdrawn plans for a holiday village over the site of the hall.

They planned to replace the Zurrieq hall with 14 new units, reception area and tennis court, and parking. Eight of the cabanas were to be sited on the car park, still subject to an enforcement notice issued in 1998. The wedding hall, nightclub and an old farm-house were to be demolished and replaced by other bungalows scattered over a more extensive area.

But the Environment and Resources Authority had immediately objected, since it proposed the additional commitment of undeveloped land.

The ERA said the development was being proposed on a makeshift car park, and that the disturbed state of the site could not justify further development.

The 1998 enforcement order is over the abusive levelling of the site to construct the car park. The ERA said the ‘disturbed’ area should be restored to its pristine state, in line with a method statement approved by the same authority.

The developers invoked the infamous 2014 rural policy guidelines which allow the redevelopment of existing buildings outside development zones. But the policy forbids states redevelopment with “substantial lateral or vertical extensions and/or substantial re-building.”

The 14 ‘luxury’ bungalows in Zurrieq’s Wied Babu was linked to an “environment management plan” for the valley, most of which is owned by Baldacchino Holdings, the owners of the Garden of Eden wedding hall.

They claimed the project would comprise of “unique, short-term accommodation units within the beautiful setting of Wied Babu”, attracting a niche market by providing high-quality accommodation. “The scheme will be providing tourist accommodation in a rural setting and in an area that has many tourist attractions but has limited accommodation available.”

Each of the 170sq.m cabanas would have pool area, and breath-taking views of the Blue Grotto, It-Torri ta’ Xutu at Wied iż-Żurrieq, the open sea and Filfla. The site is partly located in the vicinity of a Natura 2000 site.

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