Fourth decision on Maghtab fuel station

The fate of the controversial petrol station outside the development zones of Maghtab will be decided towards the end of July

Abel Energy’s Paul Abela wants to demolish two derelict farmhouses over the proposed 3,500sq.m site on a Salina road intersection near the Alla W Ommu hill. The mega fuel station will include a car-wash, mechanic, shop, stores and a 17-car parking lot
Abel Energy’s Paul Abela wants to demolish two derelict farmhouses over the proposed 3,500sq.m site on a Salina road intersection near the Alla W Ommu hill. The mega fuel station will include a car-wash, mechanic, shop, stores and a 17-car parking lot

The fate of a massive petrol station, controversially sited outside development zones in Maghtab, will be decided on 18 July after a tortuous planning saga.

The Planning Authority’s appeals tribunal (EPRT) had already revoked two planning board decisions, acting on the case officers’ recommended approval.

In 2016, the PA board refused the permit for being in breach of the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED). But the EPRT overturned the refusal, arguing that the board failed to explain why SPED policies protecting the rural environment should take precedence over the fuel stations policy which allow urban pumps to be relocated to ODZ rural areas.

That permit was brought back to the board in December 2017, with board members first indicating they would be refusing it, only to then vote in favour in January 2018.

But in April the permit was revoked again by the tribunal for procedural reasons brought up in an appeal presented by residents, namely the PA’s failure to upload documents before the decision was taken.

Abel Energy’s Paul Abela wants to demolish two derelict farmhouses over the proposed 3,500sq.m site on a Salina road intersection near the Alla W Ommu hill. The mega fuel station will include a car-wash, mechanic, shop, stores and a 17-car parking lot.

The area is, however, designated by the local plan as a rural category settlement whose rural character has to be preserved. Objectors insist this policy overrules the 2015 policy allowing the relocation of urban pumps.

The Maghtab decision will be the first to be taken since the draft revision of the maligned fuel policy rules. The new rules propose prohibiting petrol stations on agricultural land, and limits ODZ petrol stations to 1,000sq.m, while ruling out approval of new developments.

But the policy was issued for public consultation two months ago, and has yet to be approved by government. Moviment Graffitti, which led the campaign to change the permissive policy, say decisions on pending applications should be postponed pending the approval of the new policy.

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