The Malta Independent 26 November 2022, Saturday
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Open spaces are needed now more than ever - ADPD

Saturday, 24 September 2022, 16:00 Last update: about 2 months ago
ADPD – The Green Party Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said Saturday that one of the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic was that the lack of open spaces affected the mental health of those that were locked in their homes.

The locality of Santa Luċija had been planned in such a manner that many open spaces were left purposely undeveloped in order to be enjoyed by its residents. Indeed, this model, which should have been adopted to improve the quality of life of residents, has been discarded and forgotten over time. Instead, we have intensive development that simply seeks to maximize profit, the party leader said.

The proposed development in Santa Luċija (Planning Authority application number PA5152/22) seeks to take over a 1,273 square metre open space and develop within it almost 50 residences and 75 garages over five floors. This will threaten the unique character of this locality and change its topography with a building that exceeds its neighbourhood by two or three floors. This open space had been originally designed to offer an essential lung for the local community. Without it the quality of life of this locality’s residents will suffer immensely.

This application is a direct consequence of the local plans and the rationalisation exercise thanks to which in 2006 two million square metres of land that were previously open spaces or outside the development zone were earmarked for development. In spite of all the criticism from various quarters the parties in parliament have not had the courage to stand up against this senseless overdevelopment. ADPD – The Gren Party has long been maintaining that the few open spaces remaining within our urban zones should remain as such to offer an essential lung for our communities.

While on the one hand the Ministry for the Environment insists on the need for open spaces, the Planning Authority is repeatedly approving applications for existing open spaces to be developed in an intensive manner as in the case of this project in Santa Luċija. Once again, the residents’ quality of life is being threatened by commercial interests who ride roughshod over their needs, concluded Cacopardo.
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