Pembroke Residents Hang Banners, Paint Stones To Fight School On Virgin Land
Desperate times call for desperate measures
Pembroke residents are infuriated about plans by Chiswick to build a new primary school in an unbuilt field and have decided to take matters into their own hands.
In a show of force of a neighbourhood united, 13 of the 17 households on the affected street - Triq Gabriele Henin - have erected banners and posters on their rooftops, windows and walls.
The banners’ messages ring loud and clear - Say No to the Planning Application, Keep It Green, and Leave Pembroke Alone.
Popular ‘Keep calm and…’ banners have also been stuck onto street signs and a bus stop in the street, and a sign encouraging passers-by to stop and read has been affixed to the planning application itself.
In an innovative touch, residents have sprayed stones green with smiley faces and the words ‘Keep It Green’ and have dotted them around the perimeter of the site.
The government-owned land falls squarely within the development zones and has for a long time been earmarked for development. Yet residents believe that there are already enough schools in Pembroke as it is - this will be the 15th - and are adamant to defend one of their village’s last remaining open spaces.
Chiswick director Bernie Mizzi has pledged to keep in constant contact with the authorities and interested parties to ensure an “equitable solution” is found. Attempts by Lovin Malta to contact her for further clarification did not prove fruitful as of the time of writing.
The Pembroke local council has vociferously opposed this project, and its mayor Dean Hili has warned that it will “suit the needs and aspirations of the few….to the detriment of the many”.
Yet this sense of civic responsibility has not exactly spread beyond the confines of Triq Gabriele Henin itself, and few banners have so far been put up at other areas of Pembroke.
Indeed, organisers of a mass protest planned for Tuesday evening are concerned that apathy risks derailing the entire resistance - with only 116 people, including the usual coterie of environmentalists, so far declaring on a Facebook event page that they will attend it.
Organiser and Pembroke resident Patricia Graham did not mince her words in a Facebook post: “From previous experience, this is not good, and trust me, we do not need headlines like “40 residents attended a public protest this evening”…”Less than 100 residents attended”, “Poor turn out for…”
“We need “100’s turn out to protest development of a new school in Pembroke”. Without that we will lose this.”