Carob trees to make way for seven-storey apartments in Qala

Six carob trees, six almond trees and two fig trees will be uprooted to make way for a seven-storey high apartment complex which will consist of 30 garages, an office, 53 residential units and a terraced house with a pool

The site’s extents are marked in black
The site’s extents are marked in black

Six carob trees, six almond trees and two fig trees will be uprooted to make way for a seven-storey high apartment complex along Triq il-Wardija and Triq 30 ta’ Ottubru in Qala Gozo.

The new development will consist in 30 garages, an office, 53 residential units and a terraced house with a pool on 1,600 sq.m of existing fields.

A final decision on this development is expected on 4 June but the Planning Commission has already stated its intention to overturn a recommendation by the case officer to refuse the development.

The Environment and Resources Authority had approved the removal of the trees, saying that these are not protected under the Trees and Woodland Regulations.

In fact these regulations only protect carob trees and almond trees when these are located in legally protected areas. The area lies in the development zone and is therefore not considered a protected area.

The permit was issued by the PA’s planning commission despite a recommendation to refuse it by the case officer. The case officer’s primary objection was that the building height proposed along Triq 30 t’Ottubru exceeded the height limitation of the local plan.

According to the case officer the elevation on Triq 30 t’Ottubru was not stepped in accordance with the site’s topography, resulting in an elevation of six and seven storeys at different points along the Triq 30 t’Ottubru. Development in the area is limited to three floors and a basement which is translated to a height of 16.3m in development guidelines issued in 2015.

The proposal was also deemed to be in breach of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development in terms of “the protection and enhancement of the character and amenity of urban areas”.

On its part the Planning Commission justified overturning the recommendation to refuse insisting the proposed elevations of the building had been stepped down along the site therefore respected existing policies.

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