The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Court cancels permission for Marsascala waterpolo pitch after NGO appeal

Thursday, 9 December 2021, 11:16 Last update: about 8 months ago

The courts have cancelled planning permission for a waterpolo pitch and other ancillary facilities in Marsascala Bay, following an appeal by NGO Moviment Graffitti.

The same NGO announced that the permit – which was granted by the Planning Authority and later confirmed by the planning tribunal (EPRT) – had been rescinded by the courts on Thursday morning.

“The Court said the indicated zone is not for these types of developments and therefore revoked the permit,” the NGO said, before thanking residents for their persistence against the project and thanking lawyer Claire Bonello, who led the case in court.

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“This development would have entailed extensive excavation and dredging of the seabed, limited public access and enjoyment of the coast and inconvenienced a residential area through the burdens of commercialisation,” the NGO said.

In their court case, the appellants argued that the Tribunal failed to fairly consider their arguments against the Board’s decision approving this development.

“For instance, the Local Plan clearly outlines the types of development allowed in that area, and waterpolo pitches are not one of them. The applicants have tried to justify their development as “maritime based”, when in reality, the waterpolo pitch will contain freshwater, not saltwater. A pool using freshwater does not have to be built in the sea”, Moviment Graffitti said in a statement last July when the court appeal was filed.

The building of a huge structure in Marsascala Bay is also in breach of SPED provisions concerning aesthetics and the public’s accessibility to the shoreline, they added.

Marsascala has been the centre of the latest environmental battleground in recent months, not least due to plans to take over the bay with a yacht marina.

Marsaskala residents have also raised the alarm about other secretive plans for Marsaskala Bay and its surroundings. 

They have called for the withdrawal of a so-called ‘design contest’ issued by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), saying that this was a cover-up for allowing commercial interests by people close to the Labour Party.

 

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