The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Farrugia falls back on 2006 local plan changes when challenged over excessive development

Semira Abbas Shalan Saturday, 20 November 2021, 07:51 Last update: about 7 months ago

Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia fell back onto blaming the 2006 changes to Malta and Gozo’s local plans by a PN government when challenged over concerns about excessive levels of development in Gozo.

Asked by The Malta Independent about criticism from several entities on the level of construction development which has enveloped Gozo in recent months,

Farrugia said that the developments which are underway in Xlendi as well as in other areas are permitted only because of changes made to local plans in 2006, by the government back then.

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The Minister added that the government is looking over the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) which will enable authorities to discern the types of developments needed and where they should be.

Farrugia added that several studies are being carried out, however, these will take time. In the meantime, he said that he has personally met with Gozitan mayors who have presented initiatives which are being discussed with the Planning Authority. He added that they will announce these initiatives at the first opportunity.

It’s not the first time that the government has used the PN government’s planning decisions from 15 years ago to stave off criticism on excessive development.

Prime Minister Robert Abela blamed the policy for plans to develop Hondoq ir-Rummien in Gozo into a luxury harbour and village, and similar things were said in the controversy surrounding the government’s intention to construct a yacht marina in Marsaskala bay.

Development in Gozo has been met with abundant criticism from several NGOs as well as the Church, with the recently demolition of the Boathouse restaurant in Xlendi for its subsequent replacement by a six-storey block of flats being the most recent bone of contention.

NGOs have called for the revision of further development plans in Gozo, as have many members of the public.

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