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Għarb Residents Present Objections Against Road Proposed On 5,000 Sqm Of ODZ Land

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Residents of Gharb are up in arms over the proposed development of a new road and change of zoning to residential development, set to take up 5,387 sqm of ODZ land.

Objections are being brought forward, with a large number of residents of the surrounding area objecting to the project.

“There is no evidence of the need for further urbanisation of this lovely area, which is prized for its quaint and authentic setting and views,” said one resident.

Lovin Malta spoke to some of these residents, and they presented their compilation of objections, stressing that there is no need for this development to happen.

Within their representation, they outlined seven main reasons for objection: 

1. Planning control application to rezone ODZ prohibited by law

“The application envisages the rezoning of land Outside Development Zone to residential development. This is prohibited by law. Article 54 (2) 1 clearly states that changes in the zoning of a site that lies in an Outside Development Zone does not constitute a minor modification that can be subject to a planning control application for change of zoning.”

2. The proposal is not conducive to sustainable development, ecological conservation or the social well-being of residents

“There is growing recognition of the fact that residents do not want to see any more cranes and all the pollution and environment destruction which is caused by construction and development. Residents want open spaces and tranquillity.”

3.  The proposal does not adhere to the RURAL POLICY RPDG 2014

“The Rural Policy Guidelines RPDG 14 specifically mentions that there must be the proper conservation and management of the countryside for both present and future generations by discouraging unnecessary new buildings outside the development zone, protecting the rural character and landscape and preventing soil sealing and biodiversity loss amongst others.”

4. The proposal does not adhere to the sequential approach advocated by the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED)

“According to the General Principles stated in Paragraph 3.1, there should first be the re-use of existing developed land and buildings, secondly with the re-development of existing developed land and buildings, and only finally when no other feasible alternatives exist with the re-use of vacant land. The proposal goes completely against this sequential approach in requesting undeveloped land which is being used for an agricultural purpose be changed to residential development.”

5. Proposal does not adhere to the Thematic Objectives of SPED

“The SPED prohibits rural areas from being used for uses that are not legitimate or necessary. It must be emphasized that there are no studies to support the pressing need for a new road or further urban sprawl. Consequently, the proposal is in breach of Thematic Objective 1. 10 of SPED.”

6. Proposal does not adhere to the Urban Objective of SPED

“Urban Objective 3 of SPED also militates against this type of application, advocating traffic-calming measures instead of the provision of more roads which eat up agricultural ODZ sites.”

7. Proposal does not adhere to the Rural Objectives of SPED

“The SPED militates in favour of sustaining agriculture and safeguarding its distinctiveness and contains provisions that protect agricultural land from development as well as prohibitions against the cumulative effect of rural development. The proposal in question certainly goes against Rural Objective 1. 1 and 1.7 of SPED.”

The residents also stressed that the development would impose negative effects on the locals affected, and threaten the quality of life. 

The area, known as ‘Tal-Mawua’ touches upon Triq Birbuba & Triq Patri Albert Caruana.

Representations against the proposed development are currently being accepted, and are open until the 27th October.

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's either shooting film or out at sea. She's passionate about society and the culture that made her. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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