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WATCH: Bidnija Landowner’s Persistence With Illegal ODZ Work Raises Enforcement Questions

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The Planning Authority appears to be unable, or unwilling, to ensure that illegal works currently underway at a site in Bidnija are discontinued. 

Lovin Malta has over the past few weeks published numerous reports detailing illegal works being undertaken on the stretch of land in Bidnija, which is situated outside the development zones (ODZ). 

The applicants have submitted several applications to sanction illegal works on the site as well as an application to relocate a farmhouse from Fgura to Bidnija. 

The works include the erection of rubble walls, the soiling over of garigue as well as the destruction of terraced fields and the construction of access roads, suggesting that the intention is still the construction of a dwelling on the site, despite the fact that the application for the relocation of the farmhouse has been withdrawn. 

Several objections were filed with the Planning Authority (PA) against the plans, including by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage and the Environment and Resources Authority. 

Both entities expressed very serious concerns about various aspects of the works, including the destruction of the garigue landscape as well as the impact of the development on the area’s views and natural characteristics. 

Complaints were also sent to the Planning Authority about works that were ongoing without a permit. 

But despite the fact that the authority has over the past few weeks issued a number of enforcement notices relating to the site, the works have continued unabated.

Over the past few days, heavy machinery could be seen on site.

On Tuesday, excavation of the garigue part of the site was ongoing between 11am and 3pm. Soil was then deposited over the parts of the site from where rock was removed.

It is worth noting that in its reply to one of the applications submitted, ERA had noted that “from the photos provided and aerial photographs, it has been noticed that parts of the site in question seem to be garigue in nature and are hence not fit for cultivation”.

The architect was therefore requested to provide a “clear plan with a clear legend illustrating which areas will be covered in soil”.

“The areas that are characterised in garigue cannot be topped with soil and the pile of soil and the rubble material that has been deposited on the garigue areas shall need to be removed from site,” ERA had said.

It is unclear whether PA officials have visited the site since the latest enforcement notice was issued.

Lovin Malta has, once again, reached out to the Planning Authority about the site and is awaiting a response.

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Yannick joined Lovin Malta in March 2021 having started out in journalism in 2016. He is passionate about politics and the way our society is governed, and anything to do with numbers and graphs. He likes dogs more than he does people.

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