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Proposed ODZ Road In Għarb Recommended For Refusal By Case Officer

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A new road being proposed on ODZ land in the locality of Għarb has been recommended for refusal by the case officer.

Just a few weeks ago, the Planning Authority had refused to endorse the application for a new road and residential dwellings on agricultural land in Għarb.

Now, the case status is listed as ‘awaiting decision’ as residents are shocked to find out that the fight is far from over. 

Activist group Moviment Graffitti also took to Facebook to question the change in status, noting discrepancies in the application processing stage.

“These suspicious manoeuvres in the processing of this permit continue to puzzle us,” it said in the post. 

The Planning Control application is proposing the rezoning of a site located Outside Development Zone into a Residential Area. The proposed modification also includes the formation of a public road serving the proposed residential area.

A case officer’s report published in the last few days has recommended the permit to be refused, due to various reasons and it being a threat to ODZ land in the area.

The case officer first noted that the site is surrounded by several agricultural fields, with an area of approximately 7,886 square metres. Apart from that, almost all of the PC site is wholly located Outside the Development Zone.

The Environment and Resources Authority had also said that “there is no justification for a change of zoning to residential development, which would result in additional land take-up of ODZ”.

“In view of this, the proposal is objectionable from an environmental point of view.” 

Many residents had personally opposed the application during the representations period, with over 1,200 objections being filed against the proposed road and zoning change.

Among the objections mentioned, the main issues raised were; that ODZ land should remain as an outside development zone, the biodiversity would be affected, nearby properties will be depreciated, the road is not necessary in terms of traffic in the locality, and the rezoning of ODZ land is prohibited by law.

The proposal also goes against policies laid out in the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) objectives and the Rural Policy and Design Guidance (2014).

The local council of Għarb had objected against the application after an unanimous vote was taken against the proposal on the grounds of a Planning Control mechanism not being the appropriate means to consider or discuss such a proposal.

Lovin Malta had also met with some of the residents that have had their lives turned upside down due to worries that this permit being approved.

A meeting is going to be held next week to determine the decision that will be taken for this application.

What do you make of this? 

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. 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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