[WATCH] No development will take place at Wied Żnuber, Robert Abela insists

Robert Abela dismisses the idea to reverse the 2006 rationalisation exercise that had extended the development zones, insisting it will give rise to compensation claims

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that no development will take place at Wied Żnuber Valley, despite an area being earmarked for the construction of a model aircraft airstrip.

"We will continue speaking with concerned persons to explain that no development will take place in Wied Żnuber," Abela told journalists on Wednesday after exiting a debate with counterpart Bernard Grech at the Chamber of Commerce in Valletta.

He admitted that government could have communicated its plans better, but said that government will remain in open dialogue with stakeholders throughout the process.

Plans for a miniature airstrip for model aircraft were announced on 12 February. The proposal calls for the construction of an airstrip by the valley and cliffs of the area in an agreement between the government agency Indis Malta and an model airplane association.

Indis Malta denied that platform will have an impact on Żnuber valley. Instead, the agency said that a platform will be built on industrial land that is currently slated for a four-storey development.

It added that 75% of the identified land would remain free from construction as a result of the proposed model aircraft platform.

On Wednesday Moviment Graffitti asked candidates contesting the 5th District to declare their position on a proposal to construct an airstrip for model aircraft at Wied Żnuber. 

Robert Abela and Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech are among the candidates contesting the district.

Grech said that he asked to meet with Moviment Graffitti to discuss the facts of the issue with them. "This is an issue that can badly affect the locality."

Development borders set in 2006 can't be reversed - PM

Robert Abela dismissed the idea of reversing the 2006 local plans that increased building zones and generated urban sprawl.

The rationalisation exercise saw two million square metres of land outside the development zone turn into a development opportunity, giving people a newfound right to develop land that previously had to remain untouched.

He said that revising the plans would cost government because it would have to compensate people for taking away the right to develop a piece of land that they own.

Last Sunday, ADPD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said that his party is pledging to stop all rationalisation processes following the approved 2006 local plans. He had stated that the land decisions can be reversed without right to compensation, so long as the land hasn't been developed since 2006.