Petrol station application in Attard rejected outright by planning board

An application for a petrol station in an ODZ area along Mdina Road was unanimously rejected by the Planning Authority

Artist's impression of the proposed fuel station along Mdina Road that was rejected by the PA on Thursday
Artist's impression of the proposed fuel station along Mdina Road that was rejected by the PA on Thursday

There were no surprises at the Planning Authority on Thursday when the board unanimously rejected a proposed petrol station along Mdina road.

The development as proposed covered 3,000sq.m and would comprise a fuel station and car wash. The development was recommended for refusal by the case officer.

The developer’s architect disputed the two main reasons of refusal given by directorate.

One of the main reasons was that site is less than 500 metres from Pit Stop, another fuel station. This was based on the original project development statement which put the distance at 375 metres.

The project’s architect claimed that the distance is 502m from Pit Stop, using existing road alignments and 510m using the new Central Link configuration.

The architect also argued that the site was outside the 300m buffer zone for ground water protection, claiming that other fuel stations were approved in ground water protection zone.

These arguments were not rebutted by the directorate or the board.

The other reasons for redusal in the case officer report were more generic with regards to over development of the site.

In 2014, Ludwig Camilleri, son of Piju Camilleri, a close aide of the late Lorry Sant, had bought a petrol station license in Valley Road with the intention of relocating it to a bigger ODZ site.

After considering a site in Salina, deemed to be a non-starter by the environment directorate, the precursor of ERA, an application was submitted on the site along the Rabat road near the chapel.

The site had been previously identified as a private cemetery by the same owner. In the 1990s the site was subject to a planning enforcement against an illegal dwelling by Michael Axisa. The debris was left on site. Most of the proposal is located on the part of the site impacted by this enforcement.

The Attard council agreed with the planning directorate’s recommendation to refuse the development. "There is no justification for the take up of undeveloped land after Attard lost 50,000sq.m of agricultural land to the Central Link project."

Victor Axiak agreed with the council that one should not lose even more land than what was lost for Central Link project simply to relocate a very small pump to a much larger area. Axiak also rebutted the argument that the Central Link project made the fuel station application more feasible.

Axiak said the draft petrol station policy still under review would have ruled the proposal out automaticaly.

More in Townscapes