Press Release: Friday, 10th June 2016
Wied Garnaw: Paying Lip-service to SPED is not acceptable
Front Ħarsien ODZ is calling on the government to Planning Authority to stop processing the application for an old people’s home in Triq Hal Luqa in the vicinity of Wied Garnaw in the border between Santa Luċija and Luqa until a clear justification is given why an alternative site for the development was not found within the development zone.
The Front notes that a site selection exercise conducted by the developers failed to identify any suitable sites within the development zone that could be reused, redeveloped or developed as a residence for the elderly.
“We are baffled by the developers’ failure to find a site within the development zone and the fact that they ended up re-proposing the same site proposed in 2014. The only sites considered in the SSE were other ODZ sites. In this way the developers are paying lip service to the sequential approach recommended by the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Planning without giving a clear justification why the development is being proposed in the ODZ and in the vicinity of a valley.”
The Front considers this application as a major test case for the sequential approach advocated in the SPED and for the government’s commitment not to accept any new ODZ development.
The Front is also calling for the publication of the SSE and on the PA to issue clear guidelines on the way SSEs are conducted.
“Developers must be expected to present a clear justification for failing to find alternative sites within the development zone. Moreover the PA should have the power to stop development applications if the justification given is deemed unacceptable. Moreover the process should be fully transparent and all documents related to SSEs should be published.”
The Front also reiterated its opposition to a project which would result in an urban sprawl in an area designated by local plans as a strategic open gap meant to stop development in the border between Santa Luċija and Luqa. The development proposed consists of 301 beds over five floors. It also includes a chapel/cinema, administration rooms, a hall, the main kitchen and dining areas, a coffee/sweet shop, a hairdresser shop/beauty salon, a mortuary, a linen store, a cleaners room, a garbage room and a switch room.