PN MP’s ambitious seven-point plan to regenerate Marsa and Hamrun

Claudio Grech proposes VAT rebates and government subsidies for people who buy their first house in the area • Tax credits for investments in commercial activity

PN MP Claudio Grech has proposed several measures intended to regenerate Marsa and Hamrun
PN MP Claudio Grech has proposed several measures intended to regenerate Marsa and Hamrun

Billed as proposals to boost security in the two localities, Claudio Grech’s plan is an ambitious social regeneration project.

The MP who was elected from the first district has taken to Facebook to put forward ideas to change the face of Marsa and Hamrun.

Both towns are in his constituency and have been the focus of public controversy over what residents claim is a deteriorating security situation.

Many blame the issue on the anti-social behaviour of the large migrant population that lives there. However, the towns have been witnessing gradual social deterioration over a long span of years. 

Grech believes that his package of proposals linked to property will help foster a sense of community by encouraging locals to continue living there. He says the proposals will also help generate ‘clean’ commercial activity and improve the quality of life in the area.

“I believe these proposals will help residents return to normality and tranquility,” Grech says in his post.

The government earlier this month used Marsa to launch a new drive to enforce law and order in problematic areas or known hotspots for criminality, using soldiers to help police patrol these zones. As part of this initiative, government pledged to keep the Marsa police station open at all times.

Marsa found reprieve with the closure of the polluting power station in its midst but like other towns around the Grand Harbour it has had to contend with decades of widespread social and economic degradation.

Claudio Grech’s seven-point plan

1. Fast-track permits

A regeneration plan would emphasise the attraction of investment to the area, improve the quality of life and create open spaces. Planning applications that fall within the parameters of this plan will be fast-tracked by the Planning Authority and fees will be slashed.

2. Special treatment for first-time buyers

People who choose to buy their first home in Marsa and Hamrun will get a VAT refund on expenses made to arrange their house.

3. House deposit guarantee

The Malta Development  Bank should provide a guarantee to the tune of €6 million to make good for 75% of the deposit young couples would require to buy property in the localities. Grech estimated this proposal could attract up to 800 new families to the area.

4. Registration of rental contracts

All rental contracts have to be registered and standards introduced that control the number of persons that can live in every property according to size. Fines should be imposed on those who breach the standards. Landlords should be given a tax incentive to comply by have rental income taxes at just 10%.

5. Commercial tax credit

Capital investment in commercial activities that do not pollute should be encouraged by through special tax credits. Larger tax credits would be given to companies that help create more open spaces in the localities.

6. Inspections

Government should assign two workers with each council tasked with inspecting all commercial establishments and making sure they are operating according to regulations and without being a disturbance to neighbours. An app should enable residents to report abuse electronically.

7. Old people’s home

A public or private site should be identified to build an old people’s home in the area to ensure the elderly continue to maintain their bond with their birthplace.

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