AD calls for restraint in development in town peripheries

Attard resident calls on Planning Authority to refuse an application for a development on the outskirts of the town, since many residents “use the site to walk their dogs, for exercise and for recreation purposes”

Nothing had changed since 2006, when the Gonzi administration had added 2 million square metres to the development zone, and the few open spaces on the periphery of Maltese towns and villages were still being taken over by over-development, the secretary general of Alternattiva Demokratika said this morning.

Ralph Cassar, who was addressing a press conference in Attard on the site of a contested development on the outskirts of the town, said that it made no sense to continue expanding development zones when there were so many empty buildings.

The site where the AD and Attard residents where contesting the development PR01/07/2017, had fallen within the development zone after the changes introduced in 2006, with the full approval of Nationalist members of Parliament.

“It is ironic that present MPs from this district, including PN whip David Agius, had voted in favour of the 2006 expansion while they today portray themselves as paladins of the environment,” Cassar said.

He said that since 2006, matters had only gotten worse, even raising the building height limits to four floors plus penthouse, from the previos three floors plus penthouse.

“As long as decision-makers continue to favour speculation and downsize the open areas currently in existence, this nation-wide pillage will continue,” Cassar said.

“They are now even turning their attention to the coastline between Gzira and Pembroke, while Attard and Mosta residents are currently threatened by the development of a motor car racing track.”

He said that, like the site in Attards, there were similar sites that had been included in the development zones from Mosta to Marsaxlokk and that were now starting to be developed.

“In 2006, the Labour Party had voted against the so-called rationalisation scheme but, if the recent past is anything to go by, it has since change its mind and thrown itself into the ongoing orgy of wild development,” Cassar said.

Anna Schembri, a resident in the area, said that the majority of Attard residents were against the proposed development, which would see a block of flats replace one of the last few remaining open spaces in the locality.

She called on the Planning Authority to refuse the application and to safeguard the area’s identity.

“If the application is approved, we will see an increase in traffic, making the parking problem even worse,” Schembri said. “Moreover, many residents used this open space to walk their dogs and for exercise, as well as for recreation purposes, and taking it away would affect the physical and mental well-being of many residents in the vicinity.”

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