The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

FAA takes aim at Planning Authority

Friday, 3 December 2021, 16:50 Last update: about 9 months ago

Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar called on the Planning Authority to "drop the pretence" that it takes into account the well-argued views of its case officers and the public who will suffer most from abusive development. 

In a statement, FAA said that "members of the development commission should resign to maintain their integrity, as the use of the term 'quality of life' by politicians and Planning Authority officials is hollow and meaningless."

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"In spite of politicians' fine words, planning vision is still about favouring major developers while ignoring those who will suffer years of hell with constant noise, the reduction of light, air pollution from vehicles and equipment, traffic and parking problems, as well as dirt and dust."

Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar expressed its disgust at the Planning Authority Planning Commission in "paving the way for approval of a hotel in the narrow residential Milner Street, Sliema, going against the refusal recommended by the PA Case Officer."

"This stance was all the more shocking in the light of last month's planning tribunal revocation of a hotel permit a hundred metres away in Howard Street. The Environment Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) did not mince its words, declaring that the Howard Street hotel permit was to be revoked due to the fact that the North Harbours Local Plan (NHLP) defined the area as a residential, and as such 'it is important that these areas remain primarily an attractive place to live in and remain predominantly residential in use.'"

"The ERPT concluded that a hotel in Sliema's residential side-streets is 'diametrically opposed to the policies of the Local Plan as it would impact the lives of residents in the area'".  

Instead, the Environment Planning Commission (EPC) members "repeatedly justified the Milner application referring to other hotels in the area on Tower Road or Graham Street, built before the NHLP came into effect, in spite of the EPRT's confirmation that plans and policies prevail over commitments in an area."

In defending the hotel plans, the members of the EPC "ignored the SPED Urban Objective 4 (...) overruling neighbours' concerns that hotels invariably cause late-night noise in quiet neighbourhoods and contradicting that the lack of parking and laybys for service vans and tourist buses will further aggravate the dire traffic/parking problems in the area."

While Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar appreciates that the Urban Conservation Commission is increasing its efforts to ensure designs compatible with Malta's villages, it condemns that major developers are "still being allowed to destroy the quality of life of residential areas. Ignoring policies and Local Plans in granting permits for blank party walls, high buildings and hotels in narrow residential streets shows that the Planning Authority is simply a cowboy set-up that doesn't care about condemning residents to darkness and noise in narrow streets throughout the day and night, all over Malta and now Gozo too."

"Politicians' claims that they are committed to improving the quality of life of urban areas are simply a sham; until politicians give clear direction to the authorities within their remit, they are themselves responsible for the undermining of residents' health and well-being in urban areas."

 

 

 


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