Press Release 29.01.2016

Press Release 29th January, 2016

Ta’ Cenc development proposal is a non-starter – Front

Front Harsien ODZ said that MEPA should declare the proposed development at Ta’ Cenc as a non-starter, just as it did with proposed development at Munxar a few days ago.

“MEPA should turn down the latest plans for development at Ta’ Cenc which includes 15 new villas overlooking the picturesque and protected Mgarr ix-Xini and a a 118-room extension to the existing hotel.

The Front notes that the present local plan bans any further development on the plateau overlooking Mgarr ix-Xini. Moreover MEPA’s Planning Directorate had already pronounced itself against further development in the area in a case officer report issued in 2007. The report had expressed concern on the impact of development on bird colonies and the neighbouring Special Area of Conservation which enjoys maximum protection (Level 1).

“Although the development has been downscaled, it is still substantial and involves the uptake of ODZ land in an ecologically sensitive area and an Important Bird Area. Ecological studies included in the latest edition of the Environment Impact Statement warn that noise from construction and operations on the site can lead to the desertion of the existing bird colonies.”

Following the meeting held earlier this week with the Labour Party’s local council section, Front Harsien ODZ is reiterating its call on the Labour-led Sannat local council to pronounce itself against the development and calls on the government to commence discussions with the present owners of the land with the aim of transforming the area in to a natural park where no residential or tourism related development is allowed to take place beyond the footprint of existing developments.

“Maltese society no longer accepts the development of new hotel extensions and villas on undeveloped ODZ land. Any approval of such development would create an unacceptable precedent at a time when environmental awareness is at an all time high. MEPA should therefore put an end to a saga which dates back to 1996 by taking a final decision on this application which respects the principle that ODZ is ODZ.”

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