The Malta Independent 21 May 2022, Saturday

Application for garden centre and pet shop on ODZ in Attard to be heard by PA board on Thursday

Tuesday, 14 December 2021, 13:18 Last update: about 6 months ago

An Outline Development Application proposing a large garden centre and pet shop in Attard on ODZ land goes before the Planning Board on Thursday.

The site of the application is at the end of Sqaq tal-Hofra on what is described by the case officer as "undeveloped rural land" bordered by rubble walls and assorted shrubs and prickly pear plants.

The proposed development is divided into three main zones: 3,900 sqm of indoor space/greenhouses, that house plants, pots, landscaping tools, compost and fertilizers; 850sqm of open spaces; and the rest: circa 190m2 reserved for educational purposes, 1000sqm of retail, ancillary cafeteria, ancillary administration, client and staff parking, ancillary stores and staff facilities, the case officer's report reads.

The application had already gone before the Planning Commission. It requested that, in view of the scale of the project, it go before the Planning Board.

The ERA objected to the proposal from an environmental point of view as it considered 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.

"It is evident that the proposed development would have a significant cumulative impact on the surrounding rural environment, which is relatively open and undisturbed," the ERA said in its objection.

The case officer noted that this application for outline development permission cannot be favourably considered in view of lack of information pertaining to justification of the proposal in terms of site selection exercise and the location of works, visual impact and environmental studies. "The proposal is therefore being recommended for refusal."

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