Not like with like: tiny Gozo fuel pump’s bid to turn mega in Malta

‘Premature’ to consider 3,000sq.m fuel pump outside building zones pending fuel policy revision, ERA tells Planning Authority

The ERA has called the relocation of the 5sq.m pump a “major expansion of commercial use onto ODZ land” in a screening report after applicant Michael Zammit submitted a project development statement
The ERA has called the relocation of the 5sq.m pump a “major expansion of commercial use onto ODZ land” in a screening report after applicant Michael Zammit submitted a project development statement

Plans to relocate a tiny urban fuel pump in Gozo’s Victoria to Hal Far in Malta, outside the development zones, is no ‘like with like’, the Environment and Resources Authority has warned.

The ERA has called the relocation of the 5sq.m pump a “major expansion of commercial use onto ODZ land” in a screening report after applicant Michael Zammit submitted a project development statement (PDS).

Zammit insists the application conforms with the controversial 2015 Fuel Stations Policy, now set for a major revision, without any reference to the ongoing review.

But the ERA has argued that the application was “premature pending the coming into force of the updated Fuel Service Station Policy”.

The first policy draft issued for public consultation in May would automatically rule out this application, which is located on agriculture land.

But the ERA has no power to stop an application from being considered by the Planning Authority as its power is limited to just deeming which projects require an Environmental Impact Assessment. In this case ERA has decided that the project needs an EIA.

The ERA’s declaration conforms with a similar objection by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage expressing “surprise” that applications for the development of fuel stations are still being considered during the consultation period for the fuel stations policy.

The proposed fuel pump on Hal Far road in Birzebbuga is for two islands with six fuel pump stations, but also four car-wash facilities and an additional three spaces fitted with vacuums; two separate garages for valeting and tyre service; a mechanical shop; snack bar and cafeteria; kitchen; ATM; one office; lavatory facilities and two reservoirs.

A total of thirteen car parking spaces, two of which will be reserved for persons with disabilities, will be provided to allow patrons of the eatery and shop to conveniently park their vehicles.

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