The application for the controversial development of a hotel and bungalows on land outside the development zone (ODZ) in Dingli has just been withdrawn by the applicant.
The board was due to vote on the application, which had been recommended for approval by the case officer, during a meeting last November, however, the application has now voluntarily been withdrawn.
The development was opposed by residents, and saw mounting pressure from NGOs, residents and activist group Moviment Graffitti, who described the application as a “planning travesty.”
Moviment Graffitti welcomed the decision, saying: “after heavy pressure from the public and NGOs, the board had indicated that it would refuse the application. Now, the applicants – the Sant family that run JB Stores – have decided to withdraw the application before the final vote.”
Prior to this, activists had described the situation in clear terms.
“This application is a shameless attempt to circumvent constraints on ODZ development. If approved, this may well open the door to similar applications in other areas of Malta,” a spokesperson for the group said.
“The land in question lies within a Special Area of Conservation due to the high ecological value of the cliff habitat, and adjacent to two Special Protection Areas for the conservation of breeding seabirds which would be impacted by light pollution. It is also a scheduled Area of Ecological Importance and Area of High Landscape Value.”
In a Facebook post earlier today, Movement Graffiti stated that the planning authority had recommended the approval of this application, and subsequently, the ERA had changed its recommendations to accommodate the project. Infrastructure Malta had also installed a water supply to the site using public funds before the application was even approved.
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