PA denies ‘turning a blind eye to destruction’ of Għar Għerduf

The Planning Authority has claimed it will continue to monitor the adherence to permit conditions for a development in the vicinity of Għar Għerduf, while the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage maintains responsibility for archaeological monitoring

The NGO claims the development “will destroy what remains of this unique site.”
The NGO claims the development “will destroy what remains of this unique site.”

The Planning Authority has insisted that the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage is closely monitoring the excavation works that are being carried out in the vicinity of Għar Għerduf in Kercem, Gozo, after allegations by conservation groups that the PA had ignored its objections.

Wirt Għawdex lamented last week that all relevant authorities it had written to during the development application stages of the project, had disregarded its objections, with the development being approved and works commencing over the last few days.

The NGO claims the development “will destroy what remains of this unique site.”

“Wirt Għawdex cannot understand how approval for such a development could be granted when Għar Għerduf is a Grade A scheduled site of archaeological and historic importance,” the organisation said on its Facebook page.

“Wirt Għawdex deplores the fact that the authorities, who should be watchful for such occurrences not to happen, have turned a blind eye and condoned the destruction of this important site,” it added.

In a press statement issued yesterday, the Planning Authority argued that it did not turn a blind eye or was taken by surprise by this development, but processed the planning application in accordance to law.

“During the processing of this application, for the construction of a two storey terraced house, both the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the former Environment Protection Directorate were consulted and did not object to this proposed development,” the Planning Authority said.

The ongoing development lies within the development zone boundaries, in an area designated for residential use.

The site falls within a Class B archaeological buffer zone in view of the Għar Għerduf catacombs.

The Planning Authority said that it will continue to monitor and ensure that the applicant adheres to the planning permit conditions while the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage will continue to assume its responsibility for archaeological monitoring.

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