A stretch of green land outside the development zone in Binġemma is under threat after plans for a residence in the agricultural space were submitted to the Planning Authority.
The project, designed by architect Robert Musumeci on behalf of applicant Robert Bugeja, will see the destruction of green space, mature trees, and the construction of a three-bedroom house.
The site, which is nestled along Triq In-Niċċa in the locality, neighbours two properties – however, the two homes stand alone in a sea of surrounding fields.
Musumeci, it appears, is trying to use loopholes in planning policy to see the project eventually approved by the board.
According to the North West Local Plan – NWRS3 – someone may be able to circumvent ODZ regulations on “sites which have a road frontage of not more than 10.0m which abut blank party walls one storey high, or more, on one side and which form the end of a terrace of at least three dwellings”.
The architect and applicant are arguing that since one of the two dwellings was divided in 2018 into two maisonettes, the two structures constitute a total of three dwellings.
The application, however, has already been recommended that the permit should be refused, rejecting Musumeci’s assertion that the residences somehow constitute three separate dwellings.
The Environment and Resources Authority has objected to the proposal, specifically warning that the development will create an unwelcomed precedence for the area.
However, this does not mean that the project will not be approved – with the Planning Board regularly going against the recommendations of case officers.
Din l-Art Helwa and the Ramblers’ Association of Malta have both submitted formal objections to the site, as have other private citizens. ODZ development remains a key concern with many warning that it would affect the rural nature of the area while also demolishing mature trees on the site.
What do you think of the project?