Zoo wants regularisation for illegal farmhouse, pool, multi-purpose hall

Zookeeper Anton Cutajar’s 21,000sq.m expansion includes regularisation of illegal farmhouse and hall

The farmhouse with a pool was developed in an area previously identified for restrooms, a manure clamp and a storeroom
The farmhouse with a pool was developed in an area previously identified for restrooms, a manure clamp and a storeroom

The Environment and Resources Authority has shot down plans by zookeeper Anton Cutajar to extend his zoo and regularise illegal structures, by 21,000sq.m to a total footprint of nearly 32,000sq.m.

The anti-immigration firebrand’s plans include a regularization of an illegally developed farmhouse with a swimming pool, a large hall and a car park, apart from five animal enclosures.

The ERA said the area for regularisation totals 5,488sq.m, while a masterplan for future expansion – of which no details have yet been provided – seeks another 16,570sq.m of land.

Cutajar was already issued a permit in 2017 to develop his illegally-built zoo over 10,000sq.m of land, despite the ERA’s significant concerns that the zoo would result in foreseeable, future pressures for extensions – “as in fact is being demonstrated by this current proposal”, the authority said.

ERA said the plans were excessive.

A masterplan presented by architect Lino Bianco is scant on detail on the future expansion but delineates both the area Cutajar wants regularised, and the larger land identified for a “proposed extension”.

ERA said the plans were excessive
ERA said the plans were excessive

The application also seeks the regularisation of a masonry wall fencing the site from land for future extension of the zoo.

Reacting to a MaltaToday story last week, Cutajar took to Facebook to criticise the newspaper and its journalist, insisting that his plans are limited to a 5,000-sq.m extension.

The plans submitted by Cutajar foresee the regularisation of a 260sq.m “multi-purpose hall”, a 13sq.m souvenir kiosk, a car park for 36 cars, a farmhouse with a swimming pool, and a number of animal cages and enclosures.

Multi-purpose hall
Multi-purpose hall

The farmhouse with a pool was developed in an area previously identified for restrooms, a manure clamp and a storeroom.

The ERA warned that the proposed sanctioning and take-up of land would result in further formalisation and intensification of the physical development, and would result in “unnecessary urban sprawl” and “further visual intrusion in the open countryside.”

The South Malta Local Plan designates the site as an agricultural area. Even the Agricultural Advisory Committee, a panel advising the PA on applications presented on agricultural land, is objecting to the application due to the further take-up of land. According to the AAC the development of a “residence” cannot be considered acceptable since it does “not fit under any policy”.

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