Outcry persists over Ramla decision - http://www.timesofmalta.com/
The Malta Labour Party said yesterday that the permit for a new development at Ramla l-Hamra revealed the true credentials of the government and Mepa.
The Malta Environment and Planning Authority last week gave the go-head for the building of self-catering villas in place of a derelict building standing next to Calypso's cave. Deploring the decision in favour of development on an ecologically sensitive site, outside the development zone and without proper public consultation, MLP spokesman Roderick Galdes said the government was supporting developers.
He pointed out that only the board member representing the opposition had voted against the project.
The decision betrayed promises which the government had made to environmentalists, Mr Galdes said. The Xaghra local council also expressed itself against the development on the hillside. It claimed the decision would cause irreparable damage and violate several planning policies protecting this kind of environment.
"Roman ruins, archaeological sites and unique sand dunes that support an indigenous eco-system not found elsewhere on Gozo or Malta will be destroyed," the council said.
"Wistfully, the Xaghra residents hoped that those structures, known as the Ulysses Lodge, built overtop the old Roman Villa, would someday be demolished, never to be replaced again and that the glorious Roman Villa would be properly excavated and exhibited," the local council said.
Wirt Ghawdex, the Gozo Heritage Society, also condemned the manner in which permits for development in such sensitive areas as Ramla Bay in Gozo were being issued.
"Past mistakes should not have been aggravated by extending the foot-print of the new development beyond the area already disturbed in an otherwise pristine bay," Wirt Ghawdex said.
Bicref disapproved of what it called "the continued lack of respect of locally unique and environmentally sensitive areas". "What is the use of having an authority to plan local development if indeed even the person in the street can appreciate the increasing loss and decreased quality of our natural environment and lives," it asked.
The NGO said that even without Environment Impact Assessments these locally unique sites should deserve protection in effective ways.
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