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Reminder: Developers Do Not Have A ‘Divine Right’ To Keep Building To The Maximum In Malta

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As every corner of Malta is seemingly under development, a reminder has been sent to developers about the limitations of their powers.

“FAA condemns developers’ and architects’ attitude that they have an automatic right to build up to the excessive heights of the regulations, which is a height, not a divine right,” Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar, an environmental pressure group, said today.

Their comments come as Għargħur residents are up in arms over plans to build an apartment block on a green field which the Għargħur church sold to developers.

The empty green plot is 1,100 square metres and centrally located, just behind the church and close to the village’s core. The large field was sold last year in order for developers to start a high-rise project.

What was originally planned to turn into catechism classrooms, was sold to developers instead by the Curia.

“These blocks are to rise six floors and would form a bastion of concrete, blocking the view of nearby Għargħur Parish Church, and ruining the character of Għargħur, which is one of Malta’s better-preserved villages.”

As residents call out the changing identity of their village, FAA called out developers’ “misleading gimmicks” to get their plans approved. 

“The mechanism of depicting the ‘potential heights’ of adjoining houses as if they were already built up is another misleading gimmick which is so damaging to our skylines,” they said. “Those involved in the development sector need to adopt the doctors’ oath of ‘First do no harm’.”

FAA welcomed the Planning Commission’s conclusion that a decision should not be taken on PA 7953/20 in isolation, given that applications for two other adjoining blocks are still being processed.

The Planning Commission (PC) concluded that “the visual appearance of the proposal does not adequately respond to the context of the surrounding locality, particularly with regard to volume in relation and proximity of UCA zoning… PC also noted that this development might have a bearing decision of adjacent applications currently being considered at directorate level and, PC is therefore suspending the current deliberation of this application so that the case can be decided along with these other applications.”

FAA calls on the Planning Authority to apply this holistic view to every case it deals with, and reminded Malta’s political leaders of the PA mission statement: “making Malta and Gozo a more pleasant and desirable place to live in”.

Do you think developers have too much power in Malta?

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Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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