All former ODZ land should have its status reinstated - ADPD

The Green Party says that any remaining virgin land should be retained as such

Photomontage showing view from Triq il-Blajjiet with proposed project circled in yellow
Photomontage showing view from Triq il-Blajjiet with proposed project circled in yellow

ADPD – The Green Party called for an end to the ‘rationalisation exercise’ and for the outside the development zones (ODZ) status to be reinstated for any land, that lost it in 2006.

In a press conference on Saturday morning in Marsaskala, next to the site of a major development proposal at Żonqor, ADPD Media Officer Brian Decelis said Marsaskala was under attack with development proposals submitted on ODZ land.

He said as well that commercial entities were taking over of public land by to extend their business. “Even swimming zones are being curtailed,” Decelis said.

He said that a 5,000 sq.m development has been proposed on a site in Żonqor – which used to be considered as ODZ up to 2006. Decelis said it includes five floors above ground with over 100 residential units and almost 200 garages.

“The visual impact is going to be massive so much so that even photo montages published by the Planning Authority itself show that the view of the Marsaskala Bay will be completely obliterated as one would be coming down from the Żonqor hill,” Decelis said.

“This intensive development will have a considerable cumulative impact on the residents living in this area, which impact has not been assessed as required by the EU’s Strategic Environment Assessment Directive.”

He argued that there would be a substantial increase in traffic in the area, which the local roads cannot carry. Decelis said that such a development in an area which is already “intensely” built up,will negatively impact the residents’ quality of life - both those who reside permanently in Marsaskala as well as those who live there in Summer.

“ADPD is appealing to the Planning Authority that should such development be considered this should not be higher than two floors in recognition of the fact that this will be next to a rural zone, at the edge of a development zone and built on sloping ground.”

He explained that there is another development proposal on ODZ land a little bit further up on Żonqor hill.

“This madness must stop – both in Marsaskala as well as in other localities: the remaining virgin land should be retained as such,” Decelis said.

ADPD Chairperson Cacopardo recalled how Malta’s Parliament in 2006 approved the “rationalisation” exercise, as a result of which extensive stretches of land all over the islands, until then outside the development zone (ODZ), were declared as land suitable for development.

He said that this made possible the proposals for development on land such as this one in Żonqor, without taking into consideration the cumulative impact of such a development.

“It is a fact that such massive projects will lead to the degradation of the quality of life for the residents already living in these localities,” Cacopardo said.

“The impact of the wrong decisions of 2006 are being felt today, although the writing has been on the wall for some time,” Cacopardo said.

He asked whether Malta needed such large-scale developments.

“Why are we determined as a country to develop every square centimetre of our land? Isn’t it about time that a moratorium on such large-scale development enters in force? Most importantly, the rationalisation exercise should be discarded forthwith and land which used to be considered outside the development zones (ODZ) should be returned to that status”, Cacopardo concluded.