ADPD calls for towns to be safeguarded as residential zones

Green Party calls upon Local Councils to be more vocal when raising concerns about the "unrelenting development that is destroying the urban fabric of Maltese towns and villages." 

Carmel Cacopardo and Brian Decelis in Marsaskala
Carmel Cacopardo and Brian Decelis in Marsaskala

ADPD Deputy Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo and Local Council candidate Brian Decelis have called for towns to be safeguarded as residential zones.

Cacopardo was addressing a press conference at a site in Marsaskala which is currently being considered by the Planning Authority for the development of two supermarkets and a hotel. 

He also introduced Brian Decelis, who will be contesting the Local Council elections in Marsascala as a candidate for ADPD - The Green Party. 

Cacopardo said that the Local Councils needed to be more vocal about their concerns regarding unrelenting development, which he said, is destroying the urban fabric of Maltese towns and villages. 

Referring to the pending planning applications for supermarkets in Marsaskala, Cacopardo said that besides generating lots of traffic, they would also have a detrimental impact on the small and medium-sized shops in the area, which form an integral part of the social fabric of the locality and are needed for its self-sufficiency.

He pointed out that the same site was also being proposed for the construction of a hotel, reminding that the site where the Jerma Hotel once stood is to be developed into apartment buildings. 

The hotel was not required, Cacopardo said, explaining that a study published by the MHRA showed a surplus of more than double the number of hotel beds compared to current demand.

“This is yet another case in point where the Planning Authority is failing in its duty to regulate land use wisely, since it is expected that we will far exceed the hospitality facilities than the country actually needs, eventually resulting in shutdowns and bankruptcies. Moreover, tourism should not come at the expense of the quality of life of residents,” Cacopardo said.

“It is necessary to have Local Councillors who are capable of safeguarding the locality in a holistic manner with a vision of the future. Local Councils must not play the role of the Customer Care desk of the Central Government.”

ADPD’s candidate for Marsascala's local council, Brian Decelis, added that when ADPD, NGOs and residents had protested against the Marina project, they hadn’t only objected to the environmental impacts that this would have, but also against the rampant commercialisation of the locality that this would have led to.

“Marsascala must continue to remain considered as a residential town, and despite its expansion, the needs of its residents must remain paramount, rather than the needs of property speculators,” Decelis said, calling for the safeguarding of areas which had so far remained nearly undisturbed, like the sites where the two supermarkets and the hotel have been applied for. 

He praised the Marsascala Local Council for objecting to the proposals, which he said, ran contrary to the residents’ interests. 

Stressing that Marsaskala was first and foremost a residential locality, Decelis called for a stop “to the abuse towards the residents’ rights to a liveable locality.” 

“This includes cases where tables and chairs are hoarding pavements and excessively loud music of some establishments till late into the night. The remaining rural areas in the locality, such as those around St. Thomas Bay must not be allowed to degenerate into dumps or become entertainment spots.”