Gżira council to go to court over garden relocation of petrol pump

The Gżira council has decided to open a court case to challenge the planning review tribunal’s decision to uphold a permit for the relocation of a fuel pump on part of a public garden in the locality

An existing petrol station will be transferred into part of the public garden
An existing petrol station will be transferred into part of the public garden

The Gżira council decides to go ahead with an appeal in the law courts against the relocation of a petrol pump to a public garden.

The case involves the petrol station near the Manoel Island bridge, which obtained a permit to relocate some 100m further up onto a 930sq.m site in the Council of Europe gardens.

The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal last week rejected the council’s appeal against the permit.

But now, the Gżira council has agreed to go to court to challenge the tribunal’s ruling.

The council decision was taken in a public meeting in which lawyer and environmentalist Claire Bonello briefed councillors on the legal case.  Petrol pump owner Simon Muscat also attended the meeting which was open to the public.

Eight councillors including mayor Conrad Borg Manche and minority leader Jeremy Cardona voted in favour of the appeal. Only Labour councillor Alexander Zammit abstained.

Borg Manche had lambasted the tribunal’s ruling, saying that he was was “immensely disappointed” and promised to continue fighting against the loss of space in the public garden. 

“I expected much better from the tribunal instead of a justification for this outrageous decision based on old policies and road plans that no longer make any sense,” he had told MaltaToday. 

The policy was dictated by plans for the Manoel Island Link Road, which never materialised.

The link road had been a government commitment to construct a connection between the Kappara Junction roundabout and the Gżira promenade when the land at Manoel Island was transferred to the MIDI consortium. This road was never built. 

For Manche the crucial issue was that part of the garden frequented by hundreds of children will be sacrificed. 

“It was already madness when 50 years ago a fuel station was allowed on the foreshore… it makes no sense now to substitute this outrage with something even more outrageous… that of approving a fuel station next to one of the few green spaces in one of Malta’s most urbanised localities,” he said.

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