The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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FAA ‘disgusted’ at the way heritage-sensitive applications are being handled

Wednesday, 6 December 2023, 17:29 Last update: about 4 months ago


Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) has expressed its "disgust" at the way heritage-sensitive applications "are being handled by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the Planning Authority."

"Just three weeks ago the Planning Authority issued a permit to build a block of 22 apartments in the Ġgantija buffer zone, which permit FAA, Ramblers Association and Għawdix are appealing.  Today another controversial application in the Santa Verna Temple site has just been discussed at the Planning Authority," the NGO said.

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"This application made the news when reports of archaeological remains were found on the site. In spite of repeated reports to the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the police, nothing was done to secure the site from tampering and save the caves that indicated prehistoric uses."

"Furthermore, on a nearby construction site, works proceeded without the stipulated heritage monitor."

FAA said that during the latest hearing, "journalist Victor Borg revealed that he had been passed a very recent report drawn up by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage which revealed that not only was archaeology found, but that human remains were laid in caves in a manner indicating that the site was used for ritual purposes. Rather than submitting this report to the PA, this report was concealed by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage. Instead of thanking the journalist for revealing this report, the Chairman of the PA Environment Planning Commission spent the hearing berating him for not submitting the report to the Superintendence which had suppressed it all along, just as the police had ignored it all reports."

It said that members of the EPC board pushed for a summary decision on the permit, "based on 2012 Superintendence claiming no finds on the site, which are now nullified by the Superintendent's own (concealed) report to the contrary. At FAA's insistence, the EPC accepted to defer the decision in order to receive, upload and discuss the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage report obtained by Victor Borg."

Flimkien ghal Ambjent Aħjar asks yet again, "why NGOs and the public have to do the work of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and Planning Authority, which are responsible for safeguarding Malta's Heritage."

 


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