A luxury village project proposed on Manoel Island by local developers MIDI has had its permit revoked following an appeal by environmental NGO Fliemkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar.
The project, which would involve the construction of over 600 apartments, had been awarded a permit by the Planning Authority back in March 2019. However, it has now been revoked by the Environmental Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT), which ordered developers to prepare a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), a process which can take months.
The EPRT accepted a plea of conflict of interest lodged by Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar after it was pointed out that architect Edward Said, an expert conducting the environmental assessment of the Manoel Island master plan, was found to be the son of Joe Said, one of the directors of MIDI plc and chairman Lombard Bank.
The appeal was crowd-funded and fronted by citizen’s group Inħobbu l-Gżira, who launched a petition to turn Manoel Island into a national heritage park. It gathered the highest number of petition signatures for an environment-related cause, with over 8,000 signatures registered.
Critics of the project warned it will ruin Gżira’s large open space and promenade, remove parking spaces and ultimately add another construction site to a town which is already overrun by development.