Wied Babu mostly owned by Garden of Eden developers

The development of 14 ‘luxury’ bungalows in Zurrieq’s Wied Babu is being linked to an “environment management plan” for the valley

An “environment management plan” for the valley, most of which is owned by Baldacchino Holdings, the current owners of the Garden of Eden wedding hall
An “environment management plan” for the valley, most of which is owned by Baldacchino Holdings, the current owners of the Garden of Eden wedding hall

The development of 14 ‘luxury’ bungalows in Zurrieq’s Wied Babu is being linked to an “environment management plan” for the valley, most of which is owned by Baldacchino Holdings, the current owners of the Garden of Eden wedding hall.

According to the company’s project development statement for the project, the bungalows will be built instead of the Garden of Eden wedding hall complex and its adjacent illegal carpark, but will also “extend [the] built structures to a wider area, resulting in urban sprawl in the outside development zone”.

In all, they will build 14 one-storey “cabanas” of 170sq.m each with pool and terraced area.

Eight will be sited on the car park, currently subject to a planning enforcement notice issued in 1998. The others are being proposed instead of the wedding hall, nightclub and an old farmhouse.

But the site overlaps with an Area of Ecological Importance and Special Area of Conservation of International Importance.

“Even though no new structures will be built in the designated areas, the Scheme could influence the surrounding environment through increased activity in the area and through construction activities,” the PDS notes.

There will be a lower impact on bird populations, as it will result in a reduction in noise pollution due to the closure of the reception halls and also of the disco.

“Nonetheless, special care should be taken to ensure that any light pollution from development is avoided and mitigated.”

In March 2018, the Environment and Resources Authority made it clear that the illegal car park should not be used as a pretext for more development. “The disturbed state of the site is not considered as a valid commitment justifying further development.”

Instead it said the car park should be restored to its pristine state in line with a method statement approved by the authorities.

The aim of the project is to create “a unique, short-term accommodation units within the beautiful setting of Wied Babu”, attracting a niche market by providing high-quality accommodation. “The scheme will be providing tourist accommodation in a rural setting and in an area that has many tourist attractions but has limited accommodation available.”

To mitigate the environmental impact 161 trees will be planted and the roofs of the cabanas will be landscaped.  The cabanas, each of which will have a pool area, will enjoy breath-taking views of the Blue Grotto, It-Torri ta’ Xutu at Wied iż-Żurrieq, the open sea and Filfla.

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