ENGOs file a formal objection to Lidl’s application for Xewkija
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Nature Trust (Malta) (NTM) and Din L-Art Helwa (DLH) have filed a formal objection against the proposed development of a Lidl supermarket in an outside development zone (ODZ) in Xewkija- The NGOs said that “ODZ development permits are granted on a strictly limited basis and it is not acceptable to stretch the definition to include supermarkets. Lidl is proposing a supermarket in an area known as Ta’ Zejta in St Leonard Street.”
In their objection letter to MEPA, NTM and DLH said that “outside development zones had been defined as such due to undeveloped land area being so limited and as a result there is a serious presumption against development.”
Din l-Art Helwa president Simone Mizzi said “If we keep making exceptions for ad hoc developments in protected areas and use up virgin land, these areas will eventually be eroded and their protected status will be lost. Supermarkets become retail parks, retail parks become villages, and this creates the need for roads and car parks. The Prime Minister is quoted to have said that “ODZ is ODZ.” We ask that MEPA makes no exception.”
The NGOs said that “Lidl already runs two supermarkets at former ODZ sites and the permits had been the subject of a MEPA inquiry and the authority’s internal auditor had criticised the Development Control’s decision to approve the projects.”
Nature Trust Executive President Vincent Attard commented, “MEPA, as the national agency responsible for the protection of the environment, should make sure that sites outside development zones, are respected and protected,” As a nation we cannot keep on stretching definitions like ODZ and finding loopholes to bypass the system, else we will end up with nothing. Malta simply cannot afford to lose on limited undeveloped areas and many mistakes that have already been made in the past.”
As an alternative to the use of undeveloped land in protected areas, the organisations are proposing the idea of encouraging the use of buildings or sites that have fallen into disuse.