The Malta Independent 5 December 2021, Sunday

Another proposed garden centre in Attard deemed objectionable by ERA

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 25 October 2021, 09:18 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) has expressed concern over another proposed garden centre in Attard.

Last week this newspaper had reported about a garden centre application located at the end of Sqaq tal-Hofra in Attard, outside the development zone. The application was objected to by ERA from an environmental point of view, saying that “the nature of the proposed development seeks to formalize further the countryside through the consolidation of commercial activities within this site which is identified as an agricultural area.”

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An application in another part of Attard, on Triq Duramblat, for a different garden centre has now also been filed. The application proposes the development of a garden centre with facilities and an underground car park.

The Environment and Resources Authority said that “the proposal seeks to construct a building of 2,150sqm which consists of a coffee shop, pet store, shops, storage areas, offices, recreational areas, conservatories etc., a parking area of 2,400sqm, a greenhouse of 768sqm, a ramp and un/loading area of 301.5sqm, a table area of 240.5sqm and a number of paths and seating areas which total to 1,975sqm”

“The approval of such development on site would also possibly introduce undesirable development pressures including: demands and entitlements for ancillary infrastructure once the development commitment has become established on site and the creation of a precedent for the proliferation of similar developments in this area outside the development zone. Such development unrelated to rural activity should be limited within the allocated areas such as within the development zone to avoid further build up and intensification within areas ODZ.” Moreover, ERA is also concerned regarding future pressures and additional ancillary interventions on site.

The ERA said that from an environmental point of view, all proposed interventions are considered to be in conflict with the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED).

“In particular, SPED Policy TO1 seeks to manage the available potential space and environmental resources on land and sea sustainably to ensure that socio-economic development needs are met whilst protecting the environment and limiting land takeup within the rural area by ensuring that rural areas are not exploited by uses which are not legitimate or necessary.”

“This is further emphasised through SPED Spatial Policy RO1 which seeks to protect good quality agricultural land from development and Policy RO4 which seeks to protect and enhance the positive qualities of the landscape and the traditional components of the rural landscape.”

“In view of the above, this development application is considered objectionable from an environmental point of view. The proposed development may qualify for an Environmental Permit and Environmental Registration with ERA’s Environmental Permitting Unit, and other details with regards to air quality, noise and waste management would be required, however this is being considered superfluous at this stage in view of the overall objection to the proposal.”

The site in question is located right next to Badger Karting, on which an application for another garden centre had previously been approved.

 

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