Press Releases

Objection PA 2479/16 The Halland

Attn: Planning Authority
PA  2479/16
Front Ħarsien ODZ is objecting to plans to develop a nine-storey residential complex on the site of the former Halland Hotel in Tal-Ibraġġ, facing Wied Għomor.
The Front is not against the re-development of the site of the present Halland hotel but is concerned by the fact that the imposing  new structure abuts directly on the valley.
The Front expressed concern on the visual impact of the new building on valley views.
“The redevelopment of older structures should be an opportunity to minimise the visual and environmental impact and not to increase it.  Unfortunately the trend is for developers to propose bigger and more intrusive structures when replacing old ones.”
Moreover the Front highlighted the importance of keeping a buffer zone between valleys and residential and tourism development.
“Presently the pool area creates a visual buffer zone between the valley and the hotel.  Since the site is now being redeveloped this could represent an opportunity for the developers to give back something to the local community by creating a public landscaped area while using the footprint of the existing building.”
We also call on the PA to ensure that a public pathway which currently provides pedestrian access is retained.
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Press Release 03.01.2018

Front Ħarsien ODZ notes with approval the recent resurgence of environmental concerns within opposition parties, in particular, PD’s private member bill to revise SPED, and its concerns regarding the Zonqor University project.

Front reiterates its view that SPED should be reformed to eliminate, wherever possible, any further development on ODZ, and looks forward to a healthy debate on the matter by all interested parties.

Front Ħarsien ODZ would also like to thank those journalists and eNGOs who have worked tirelessly in the background throughout the last year of political upheaval, keeping the environment at the forefront of political discourse.

Front welcomes Zonqor parliamentary motion

Press Release 02.01.2018
 
Front Ħarsien ODZ welcomes the motion presented by the Nationalist Party which seeks to reverse the transfer of public land in Żonqor to Sadeen Group, The Front has always insisted that ODZ land in the area should never have been allocated for development irrespective of the number of students attending the university. The Front appeals to all parliamentarians to support the motion in a way which reflects non partisan consensus against environmental degradation and ODZ development.

Press Release 14.08.2017

Front Ħarsien ODZ is objecting to the development of a restaurant in Dwejra, Gozo. Front is endorsing the objections of Light Pollution Awareness Group, BirdLife Malta, Friends of the Earth Malta and Nature Trust Malta.
The area in question is considered as being a very ecologically sensitive one, given it is within a Natura 2000 site  and is a Special Protected Area  designated under the Wild Birds Directive. The proposed extension if of concern in view of increased lighting of the area which can disturb fauna and create light pollution in an area which is renowned for its tranquility. This site also offers some of the best night skies on the island which is ideal for astronomical observations.
This development is located within an area of Dark Sky Heritage (Gozo and Comino local plan) and thus no exterior lighting should be allowed.

Front Ħarsien ODZ to object to Zonqor development

Press Release 26.07.2017

Front Ħarsien ODZ will be formally objecting to the application to develop a university campus, part of which is located outside development zones and on land earmarked in the local plan for a national park.
Front Ħarsien ODZ insists that the project is still in breach of existing planning policies including the local plan which identifies the area for inclusion in a national park and the SPED which obliges developers to consider land within development zones before considering ODZ sites.
“We are calling on the government to include the land presently earmarked for a massive car park, student halls and sports facilities in the Inwadar park. It simply does not make sense to turn an area immediately next to the Inwadar Park in to a construction and excavation site”.
Moreover it does not make any sense for government to designate the Inwadar Park as a public domain site as proposed by government while allocating public land immediately next for construction.”
The local plan itself his local plan designates the area as a national park “primarily for informal recreation (e.g. walking, cycling) and the appreciation of the ecological, geological, archaeological as well as cultural-historical features of these areas”. Within this area “priority will be given to the conservation, protection and improvement of the natural and cultural-historical heritage”.
Moreover the project may disturb the ecology of the adjacent Special Protection Area, which is immediately next to it through noise and light pollution. Front Harsien ODZ will continue to oppose the project by all legal means necessary with the aim of including the whole of Zonqor Point in the Imwadar park.  To achieve this aim the Front will continue participating in the planning process and will continue to mobilise the public as it did two years ago in the largest ever environmental protest in recent Maltese history.

New PA website a step backward in transparency

Press Release 24.07.2017
Front Harsien ODZ is calling on the Planning Authority to immediately reinstate the facility to search for all pending ODZ applications in each locality of Malta and Gozo and the facility to search all pending planning enforcements in each locality of Malta and Gozo.
Earlier versions of the website always included the facility to search pending applications and enforcements by locality and by designations like Urban Conservation Areas and developments proposed Outside Development Zones.
“In this way, Local Councils, NGOs and the general public are being deprived of a valuable tool to scrutinize all pending applications including those presented in the past and those which have still not been published in the government gazette but which have been given a PA number.”
Although the present website still gives viewers the opportunity to view applications published in the government gazette each Wednesday, the present website is deprived of the facility to search all pending application in each locality and to do so by ODZ or UCA designation.
Moreover past website also gave viewers the opportunity to search applications by street or location as an alternative to the geo-server where the viewer has to have clear knowledge of the exact geographic location of a development.
Front Harsien ODZ described the latest changes to the PA website as a step backwards in terms of transparency and is calling on the PA to immediately reintroduce the features which have been removed from the new website.
“One of the few positive things of the PA has been its transparency in providing information on pending applications.  The new website is a big step backward and an insult to people’s intelligence and betrays the expectations of a modern democratic society.”