The Malta Independent 20 November 2017, Monday

‘A clear misrepresentation of facts’ – AX Holdings CEO says on Mosta development

Julian Bonnici Tuesday, 7 November 2017, 12:17 Last update: about 12 days ago

Extensive studies by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage found that “no underground structures needed to be recorded or investigated” at AX Holdings’ controversial construction site at Tal-Qares in Mosta, the company’s CEO Michael Warrington has told The Malta Independent.

Criticising what he described as ‘a clear misrepresentation of facts’, Warrington said that the “time has come for us to explain the facts relative to this issue.  We hope that public debate on the matter, will in future be based on such facts and not on individual agendas or bias.”

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Controversy erupted last week when excavation works on the site commenced. The area contains archaeological remains such as megaliths and cart ruts, with some experts even believing that the site could possibly also be home to Malta’s third hypogeum.

The site forms part on an area known Il-Wesgha tal-Gganti, was added to the development scheme as part of the PN’s infamous and highly controversial rationalization process in 2006.

In January 2015, the Planning Authority approved the Planning Control permit for the area which set out the nature of development permitted on the site including building density and height limitations etc, Warrington said.

The AX Holdings project will see the area turned into a showroom, five maisonettes, seven apartments, four penthouses and 18 garages across four storeys.

Warrington insists that prior to the issuing of the permit, extensive studies, which used laser technology after clearing all loose vegetation and soil to expose the rock face,  were carried out over a two year period by an archaeologist working under the supervision of the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage determined that there “are no underground structures that needed to be recorded or investigated.”

“Some land at Il-Wesgha tal-Gganti included structures that the SCH and PA have determined will remain open spaces and no development will be allowed on that land.  These areas do not form part of the site belonging to the AX Group,” Warrington said.

Following the studies, the Superintendence was of the opinion that there were no important remains on the site, save one of the rubble walls, which is being retained.  This wall on the perimeter of the property has been extensively documented and measures are being taken to protect the wall both during excavation and during the construction phase. 

Warrington said that company feels  “that the time has come for us to explain the facts relative to this issue.  We hope that public debate on the matter will in future be based on such facts and not on individual agendas or bias.

“Unfortunately, we have noted a clear misrepresentation of facts from some quarters who have screened videos of land that does not form part of the AX Group’s property when discussing our development. Likewise statements that there could be an underground hypogeum totally unsupported by any form of scientific or archaeological evidence are unfair.

“The AX Group is always amenable to constructive discussion based on fact.  The AX Group has been one of the leading groups in Malta that have carried out extensive restoration works on historic buildings and palaces for their preservation and the enjoyment of all.  We believe in developing our future while protecting our past.”

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