Abusive ODZ applications are beginning of the end of Gozo – FAA
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ENGO Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar has slammed what it said is the “unprecedented recent Planning Control applications in Gozo.”
In a statement FAA said that it “defies all planning policies and threatening the very core of the limited legislation protecting our natural heritage and countryside.
The eNGO went on to describe as “the vile attempt to designate pristine ODZ land in Xlendi and Ghasri as yet more built-up congested zones.”
FAA pointed out that “not one but two planning control applications covering land in each locality with a combined area of over 15,000sqm where the same applicant is trying his hand at having ODZ land declared as development zone.”
“This is in an attempt to turn agricultural fields into apartment blocks – a request which under the present restrictions for the area would be out-rightly refused,” it said.
“A Planning Control application is a mechanism reserved for minor changes to land already within the development,” stated FAA. “The law specifically precludes this mechanism from being used to change the zoning of the area itself, as is being requested in these two cases.”
“We have unfortunately already witnessed the ruin of large parts of Malta following years of rampant and unregulated development,” it said. ”
“Now it seems developers are turning their sights to the relatively untouched beauty of Gozo by means of what can be considered nothing more than ‘creative’ applications, in an attempt to defy existing planning regulations,” stated FAA.
the eNGO added that, “their approval would truly spell the end for Gozo and kill any chance for its sustainable development.”
“It would also open the floodgates for rampant development beyond anything we have ever witnessed before since developers can start applying to develop their own land in the countryside in the exact way as this person is attempting to. All residents of Gozo and Malta alike should be concerned,” said FAA.
An FAA spokesperson said, “we expect the Planning Authority to do its duty and screen and weed out these abominations. This unsustainable chaos that has tarnished Malta cannot be allowed to spread to Gozo.”
FAA added that it maintains that “if approved, these applications would make a mockery of existing planning restrictions and render the Planning Authority’s role obsolete.”
“It is the abandonment of public bodies safeguarding the public’s interest in planning decisions. It is the surrender of our well-being to business interests. These applications must be refused,” concluded FAA.