NGOs very dismayed over MEPA’s decision on Ramla appeal
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Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar and Save Ramla Group, the two NGOs challenging the application to build 23 villas with pools sadi that are very dismayed that MEPA has granted the developers yet another chance to further their Appeal.
“The plans to build 23 villas with pools on the hillside sloping down to Ramla Bay had been approved by MEPA in 2007. However after a national protest march attracted over 1,500 participants, all expressing their outrage at this development, the permit was rescinded on the grounds that the developers’ declaration that the site was all private land was incorrect. MEPA revoked these permits following detailed reports submitted by environment planning consultant Perit Lino Bianco on behalf of Carmen Bajada, a resident and local councilor in Xaghra Local Council. These reports included proof that the outline permit was issued on information that was false, misleading or incorrect” in terms of Article 39A of the Development Planning Act,” the NGOs said.
The NGOs went on to say, “Undaunted the developers filed an appeal. However this started to be heard when the developers had only paid a fraction of the appeal fees.” Astrid Vella, FAA Coordinator stated “We cannot accept this inconsistency, as an application coming from an ordinary citizen would never have been accepted before proof of full payment is presented.”
“During the hearing held in Gozo last Thursday, the developers admitted that the small parcel of land in question was not their property, stating that they had a Planning Control (PC) Application in order to apply to change the designation of this land so that they could build on it. Dr.Degaetano, MEPA’s Appeals lawyer immediately rebutted, saying that this PC application had not yet been submitted. The Appeals Tribunal then granted the Ramla developers an extension until July this year in order to obtain the signatures of the owners of the public land and submit a PC application. Failure to do this by end July would mean that the appeal will be nullified by MEPA. The NGOs ask why the Appeals Tribunal should grant the developers an extension which would enable them to carry out such a development on such a treasured site,” the NGOs said.
“The developers also claimed that the land was only registered as public land by the government when their case came up.” However representatives of Save Ramla and Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA) contested the claim, saying the land was registered and known to be public land well before that time.
Given this extension, FAA and Save Ramla have renewed their call for public support of their campaign to save Ramla from development, especially in the light of the fact that if this permit is issued, the building up of the whole Ramla headland will be inevitable.
Donations to cover the substantial charges that the NGOs need to undertake for studies and reports can be made through a text message on 5061 8079 (€4.66), 5061 9226 (€11.65) or through a direct debit donation at www.faa.org.mt/donate or by credit card on https://faa.trolleymania.com.