Siggiewi fuel pump wants ODZ land before rules change

An urban petrol station has joined the race to have its licence relocated to a site outside the development zones, just before the Planning Authority changes its policy and bans fuel stations on agricultural land

The Mallia petrol station of Siggiewi is located on the kerbside adjacent to the St Mary chapel, which dates back to 1724, in the village square. Through relocation the owners will get a 1,600sq.m site along Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi road
The Mallia petrol station of Siggiewi is located on the kerbside adjacent to the St Mary chapel, which dates back to 1724, in the village square. Through relocation the owners will get a 1,600sq.m site along Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi road

An urban petrol station has joined the race to have its licence relocated to a site outside the development zones, just before the Planning Authority changes its policy and bans fuel stations on agricultural land.

The Mallia petrol station of Siggiewi is located on the kerbside adjacent to the St Mary chapel, which dates back to 1724, in the village square.

Its owners purport that they want to “satisfy the Siggiewi residents’ wishes” to their main piazza devoid of the petrol station next to the 18th century chapel.

The petrol station services most of the heavy vehicles driving to and from the numerous soft stone quarries and construction yards around Siggiewi, creating a nuisance to residents.

But through relocation the owners will benefit from extra space for a servicing garage, ancillary office and shop, a car wash, two charging points for electric cars and an ATM on a 1,600sq.m site along Mgr Mikiel Azzopardi road.

The new policy as drafted will limit ODZ petrol stations to already developed sites with an area of 1,000sq.m, would therefore exclude the proposed petrol station’s relocation.

Architect and former PN environment minister, George Pullicino, who is representing the owners, justified the choice of the site due to its close proximity to a large disturbed area, which until a few years ago was an active quarry, and was consequently filled up and is now littered with debris or abandoned vehicles, abandoned machinery or other bulky refuse.

But the same report acknowledges that the site is within an agricultural zone which consists of “non-irrigated agricultural land with some citrus, pomegranate and olive trees.”

The local plan itself envisages the rehabilitation of the area in which the petrol station is being proposed through “environmental management plans.”

But according to the project development statement, since the proposed site lies on a main thoroughfare “it definitely is not really part of the rural environment which these plans were intended to address in a positive manner”.

The Environment and Resources Authority has already objected to the development noting that there is “no valid justification for the further loss of undeveloped rural land” to accommodate the development of “a significantly enlarged fuel station beyond the development zone boundary”. It also said the project will require an Environment Impact Assessment.

More in Townscapes