The Malta Independent 25 May 2024, Saturday
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FAA objects to proposal to build 7-storey block in heart of Zabbar

Friday, 19 April 2024, 07:21 Last update: about 2 months ago

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar said Friday it is objecting to a planning application to build a seven-storey block in Misraħ tal-Madonna Medjatrici, Triq Ganni Bonavia, Zabbar.

This proposal to build 7 storeys does not respect the Local Plan height limitation of three storeys and will inevitably set a precedent for more multi-storey buildings ruining the traditional streetscape, the NGO said in a statement.

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“This proposal violates Urban Objective 3.7: To identify, protect and enhance the character and amenity of distinct urban areas by protecting and greening open spaces which contribute towards the character and amenity of urban areas; the proposed replacement building will not result in an improved or more pleasant streetscape. This project will increase soil-sealing due to the destruction of most of the garden and contrary to the applicant’s declaration, the project will be destroying many existing trees,” the NGO said.

The NGO also highlighted the fact that at 48 metres from the Zabbar Parish Church, the building’s facade falls within the setting of a Grade 1 Scheduled building therefore the following Circular 3.20 policy applies: “an assessment of the setting of Grade 1 scheduled buildings must include all levels of the context - immediate, wider and extended.”

The proposal, according to FAA, also violates SPED Thematic Objective 8 which states that one must safeguard and enhance biodiversity, cultural heritage, geology and geomorphology by identifying, designating and managing areas, buildings, structures, sites, spaces and species for protection and appreciation; and by re-appraising the value of the character, amenity and distinctiveness of designated areas and sites for their built heritage value.

The NGO said that it also violates Urban Objective 2 which seeks to improve the townscape and environment in historic cores and their setting with a presumption against demolition of property worthy of conservation by controlling design, form, scale, density and type of development; by adopting a context driven approach to the control of building heights within Urban Conservation Areas, and which states that development within historic sites is to be carried out in such a manner so as to ensure that the historic sites’ skyline is not adversely affected.

The NGO continued that it also breaches Urban Objective 3, which seeks to identify, protect and enhance the character and amenity of distinct urban areas by establishing appropriate building heights and development densities, and by protecting and greening open spaces which contribute towards the character and amenity of urban areas, reduction of soil sealing and support biodiversity with a view of developing ecological corridors.

“Finally, we emphasise that the accommodation of elderly and infirm patients on high storeys violates EU norms of care of elderly people due to the high risks involved in evacuating bedbound patients or patients suffering from dementia/Alzheimer’s from upper storeys in case of an emergency. The Planning Authority should not be complicit in exposing elderly people to such danger,” the FAA said.

For these reasons, the FAA said that it vehemently calls on the Planning Authority to refuse the application.

Since their objection is being made within the stipulated period, or within a day of a public holiday when closure of the representation period falls on a public holiday, FAA requested that the Planning Directorate takes into account all these objections when considering this application, and that it gives confirmation of receipt of this objection and confirmation of our status as official objectors.

The FAA also requested that it be kept informed of any developments including new plans, publication of the DPA report and outside consultation reports, and that it is given reasonable fore-notice of the date and time when the application is considered by the Environment and Planning Commission in order to attend such sitting and present additional submissions as considered appropriate.

 

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