ERA go-ahead for Marsaxlokk council offices

ERA gives go-ahead for Marsaxlokk council offices earmarked inside school garden

The Environment and Resources Authority is not objecting to the development of local council offices in the Marsaxlokk school garden, as long as additional trees are planted to compensate for those which will be lost.

Nearly 300 residents have already objected to the proposed development.

The Marsaxlokk local council wants to build a community centre on 920sq.m of garden space in the locality’s primary school, that will impact a number of trees.  The planning application foresees the “transplanting” of 37 olive trees, cypress trees, pomegranate trees, Judas trees and pecan nut trees.

The community centre will have three storeys, to house the local council, a social security office, a post office, a library and a public hall. A receded top storey will host a roof garden with benches. The council approved the project with three votes to two, the latter being that of PN councillor Janice Chetcuti and deputy mayor Elenia Desira.  Hundreds of residents turned out for a protest against the development in December.

In its submission to the Planning Authority, the ERA acknowledged the concerns with on the uptake of part of an urban open space, but said the development was intended as a community facility inside a committed development zone.

For this reason the ERA did not object to the proposal. But while noting that the uprooting of trees impacted by the development does not require a nature permit, as these are not protected, it is still requesting that additional trees are planted on site or within the surrounding areas as a compensatory measure.