Graffitti objects to Sannat mega development

Moviment Graffitti objects to Sannat mega development that has been split up into three separate planning applications to avoid EIA requirement

The three sites in Sannat earmarked for the development of 125 apartments (Image supplied by Graffitti)
The three sites in Sannat earmarked for the development of 125 apartments (Image supplied by Graffitti)

Moviment Graffitti is objecting to a proposal for the construction of a block of 125 apartments just 300 metres from the cliff edge in Sannat, Gozo.

The block is being proposed by Mark Agius (Ta’ Dirjanu), Samuel Saliba and Joseph Vella, known to be associates of Gozitan construction magnate Joseph Portelli.

Graffitti said the development was broken down into three separate applications to avoid the scrutiny necessary for a single massive development.

One of these permits on Triq ta' Bebunaq and Triq it-Tempju tal-Imramma has already been issued by the Planning Authority, in what the group has described as a tried-and-tested tactic that allows developers to obtain permits with relative ease by avoiding the requirement for carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment.

“This devious strategy to bypass the necessary studies should be put to an end,” a Graffitti spokesperson said.

“Developers are making separate applications while hiding behind the names of family members and other associates. This shows how the system itself is fundamentally flawed, undermining any potential for sound planning and resulting in gross planning injustice,” the organisation said.

The development foresees the construction of swimming pools and decking on ODZ land. Graffitti said this new “invasion in ODZ land” will not only come at the expense of a scenic clifftop, but also set the precedent for the take-up of more green spaces.

“All three applications violate height restrictions and will engulf Sannat, ruining the serene village, increasing traffic and congestion, and affecting people’s enjoyment of sunlight in their homes,” the group said.

The proposed site of development is in the close vicinity of an internationally recognised Important Bird Area, home to a significant breeding population of Scopoli's Shearwaters (Ċief) in the Mediterranean.

“The light pollution produced by such a large development poses a direct threat to these seabirds, one which Malta is duty-bound to prevent,” Graffitti said

The site lies on good quality agricultural land, further aggravating the effect of the development. 

“We oppose this development in its entirety, and call once again on the authorities to put an end to these underhanded games by developers,” Moviment Graffitti said.