President George Abela called for a revamp of Malta’s ‘dreadful’ planning situation in a statement he issued to rebut criticism that he only spoke up when development was set to take place in his street.
He also attached links to 13 times he spoke about this issue and claimed he was probably one of the very first to use the term ‘uglification of Malta’.
“However good and academically justified such rules and regulations appear on the statute book, the end result is dreadful for anyone, even the common man in the street, to see,” he said.
He doubled down on his position as one of the stalwart defenders of the Maltese environment since the late 70s and shed light on his stance on the “outrage in urban development”.
Moreover, the president used this opportunity to discuss his role as “one of the pioneers talking and writing about environmental awareness” including his inaugural address in 2019 where he emphasised the need for better controls, pleading to the relevant authorities to abide scrupulously by rules and legislation.”
Despite this appeal, Malta has had its fair share of construction and development-related abuses – stemming from dubious work on protected land to the death of a residence in her own home as a result of a nearby construction site.
“President Vella was probably among the very first to use the word ‘uglification’ of Malta when referring to the distasteful buildings that were popping up all over the islands and wreaking havoc on the much-cherished texture of our urban centres,” the statement continued.
While acknowledging that criticism comes with any public office, the president’s office claimed that such comments on his social media post were unjustified and “laced with insults, accusations, innuendos and outright name-calling”.
“The appeal was always directed at finding that delicate point, where there is a balance between the built-up environment and the natural environment, in these small islands of ours. The appeal was, and still is, for the responsible authorities to have a good critical look at the end results of their planning and permit policies,” he said.
The statement ended with an appeal to authorities “to have a serious review of existing planning and building regulations, in order to avoid allowing more unsightly and obtrusive structures to rise all over Malta and Gozo.
How do you think Malta can step up its game in urban development?