The only known Roman and Byzantine catacombs in Gozo, Għar Gerduf, are under threat once again after plans to construct a two-storey house on an adjacent piece of agricultural land were submitted to the Planning Authority.
Objections for the plans, submitted by applicant William Scerri and architect Saviour Micallef, close in just a matter of days.
This is not the first time the area has been subject to speculation from developers.
In 2017, the PA Board revoked a permit (also submitted for by architect Saviour Micallef) issued for the development of a two-storey house right next door after discrepancies were revealed in the authority’s records.
The archaeological classification of the site was listed as ‘B’ on the application when it had in fact been classified as a Class A area since 2000.
The latest attempt to build in the area is even just a renewed application from a 2006 permit that was rejected in 2014.
The application also seems to run completely contrary to the government’s plans for the area.
In May 2019, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana announced that the Lands Authority forked out €405,000 to acquire four other plots of land in the area.
“The necessary preservation and conservation can now begin in the area. There will also be a project to ensure that the public can enjoy this site,” Caruana said at the time.
However, it appears that the aforementioned project is yet to materialise.