Ramla permit may increase ODZ construction - Graffitti - http://www.maltastar.com/
maltastar.com team 14 June 2007

The permit issued for the development of 23 villas at Ramla l-Hamra may lead to increased demands for development permits in this pristine bay, and other sites with the same characteristics. The fact that Mepa issued this permit may lead to other construction developments in outside development zones (ODZ) to be approved.

On Thursday, Moviment Graffitti criticised Mepa for allowing the construction development at Ramla l-Hamra, and raised several “inaccuracies” which pose crucial doubts on the validity of the permit issued for this project.

Graffitti noted:

No Environmental Impact Assessment was issued following the application of this development. Why?

Moviment Graffitti noted that the use of the developers’ archaeological report to substantiate the permit issued is another inaccuracy in the procedure of issuing this permit, since the intention of this report was not to consider the impacts of any proposed development.

The NGO explained that in a letter MEPA referred to during the Mepa public Board meeting, Marlene Borg, Joseph Calleja, and Ernest Vella, archaeologists from Archaeology Services Co-operative Ltd (ASC), and Katya Stroud, an archaeologist and ex member of ASC Ltd say that “This study did not deal with either the impacts of any development in the area nor any mitigation measures that may be carried out to ensure the preservation of the cultural heritage… in fact, the report focused on the proposal of a heritage trail through which the cultural heritage could be preserved and better presented to the public. We were never informed that this report would be attached to a development permit application".

The development under scrutiny will be a massive one. The drawings submitted to MEPA by the developer clearly illustrate its size. In fact during the same Board meeting the developer stated that at the first stages of development vegetation and trees will be planted in the area surrounding the development site to minimize its impact.

Why is it that at the final stages of the Board meeting, the developer was given the chance to change sub-titles of drawings from ‘Residential Dwellings’ to ‘Tourist Complex’ instead of submitting new plans with the correct wording?

Moviment Graffitti supports Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA)’s call for MEPA to provide further clarifications. It agrees with this organisation’s statement that the development footprint did not remain the same of the derelict Ulysses Lodge in the same location.

Plans submitted to MEPA by the developer contradict the arguments raised by MEPA’s Board members. Only the borderline area of the development site will remain the same, not the development footprint.

The surrounding site of the development is included in the Natura 2000 conservation areas. Why is it that the area in question is not also included?

Moviment Graffitti concludes that the anger coming from various NGOs is the result of loose planning in safeguarding areas for the benefit of future generations.

Granting of such permits has put MEPA’s reputation in a bad light.
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14 Jun 2007 by Saveramla.com