The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

Moviment Graffitti objects to ‘massive’ proposed Xewkija development

Albert Galea Thursday, 27 May 2021, 14:01 Last update: about 22 days ago

NGO Moviment Graffitti have objected to a “massive” proposed development in Xewkija, expressing concern over its proximity to a scheduled windmill and over a lack of transport accessibility to the site.

The development – which consists of excavating what seems to be agricultural land for the construction of 3 ground floor garages, 3 maisonettes, 21 apartments at first, second and third floor levels and 6 penthouses with underlying basement garages and car spaces – was first revealed by The Malta Independent earlier this month.

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This newsroom reported how a real estate firm had already seemingly sold nine units from the apartment block, even though the project hasn’t even gone past the first phase of Planning Authority scrutiny as it seeks a permit.

Moviment Graffitti said on Facebook that they were objecting to the development because of its proximity – just 18 metres – to an Urban Conservation Area (UCA) and because a Grade One scheduled windmill is located just 86 metres away from the site.

The NGO said in its objection that “the volume and massing of the proposal are totally out of proportion with the surroundings and jar considerably with the vernacular architecture of the area.”

“Views of the urban core and local landmarks will be ruined by the sheer size of the development. The scale and intensity of development proposed are incongruous with the existing context of vernacular buildings and buildings of traditional design and proportions and the excessive and overbearing volumes would condition all development in the vicinity”, they noted.

They added that the proposed development would obscure views of the church, which have already been impinged by insensitive development to the rear of the site, and would also impact views of the scheduled windmill.  

In view of this, Moviment Graffitti said that the application runs counter to Urban Objective 3 of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development which aims to protect and enhance the character and amenity of urban areas.

They also raised concerns on vehicular access to the site, noting how the development lies in a narrow one-lane alley with limited access to vehicles.

“Given that the proposed development will generate a considerable increase in traffic and demand for on-street parking, the alley will presumably have to be opened up to build a new road”, they noted.

With this in mind, the NGO asked for a Traffic Impact Assessment to be conducted.

They also objected on the basis that the site of the proposed development lies on potentially arable land, “meaning that more rural and agricultural land in Gozo is being sacrificed to satisfy the developers’ greed to the detriment of our right to enjoy a good quality of life.”

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