Planning Authority ignores refusal for ‘NGO hub’ to be built in Marsaxlokk

The Planning Authority’s board justified overturning the advice of the case officer by insisting that “the footprint of the existing building will not be increased”

The development's surrounding area includes 635 square metres of agricultural land
The development's surrounding area includes 635 square metres of agricultural land

A planning application to replace a one-storey Marsaxlokk building outside development zones with a two-storey office for the Consultative Council of the South, was approved against the advice of the Planning Directorate. 

The Planning Authority’s board justified overturning the advice of the case officer to reject the project by insisting that “the footprint of the existing building will not be increased.”

The case officer has argued that the development should be located in a town centre, not in a rural area.

The office, whose council is chaired by Labour MP Silvio Parnis, will also be used as a hub for NGOs to meet.

The surrounding area includes 635 square metres of agricultural land, which will be landscaped and partly covered by a wooden platform, trees and a fountain.

While the PA board insisted that the footprint will not be increased, the case officer said the footprint of the building will increase from 175 sqm to 270 sqm.

This one-storey building located outside development zones will become a two-storey HQ for the consultative committee for the south, as well as a hub for NGOs to organise public meetings
This one-storey building located outside development zones will become a two-storey HQ for the consultative committee for the south, as well as a hub for NGOs to organise public meetings

The development was deemed to be in breach of the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development, and the Rural Policy and Design Guidelines, which limit development in rural areas to activities essential to agriculture. 

The project also fails to create the required car parking spaces, resulting in additional on-street parking which would negatively affect the area. A planning gain of  €11,646 was imposed to compensate for this shortfall.

Din l-Art Helwa had objected to the project, noting that a building for the use of NGOs is a good idea but not in the selected location.

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