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Readers Letter - “On Wednesday 14th November we were present to witness the insertion of yet another nail into a Maltese coffin already peppered with nails. A permit for the renewal of PA3976/04 was granted (under PA1248/12)), ignoring the fact that the MEPA’s own Audit Officer had declared that existing permits were approved contrary to established policy. However, we have learnt that this means little to MEPA officials.
“Ignoring the will of the interested citizens, the preservation of access to Maltese Cultural Heritage and the ever decreasing areas of open green land, members of the Environment and Planning Commission (listed below) decided with four votes in favour and one vote against to give the go ahead to the developer, Mr Joseph Said, to build three villas with three swimming pools on white land where no development should have been permitted; on land which is partly ODZ and lies within the Rabat Conservation Area.
Environment and Planning Commission, Division A on 14.11.2012
Sandra Magro (Chair)
“The chairperson rejected a request for the proceedings to be carried out in English in spite of the fact that all the documentation was in English. At no point were we, two of around 114 registered objectors, invited to contribute before the decision was reached with a show of hands by the five member commission.
“Although this was supposed to be a public meeting, the proceedings were conducted in sepulchral tones, so quiet that, apart from the voluble and legally valid objections to the proposed renewal raised by Perit Carmel Cacopardo on behalf of residents, we could only hear mumbling noises from the panel. Even the Maltese objectors who filled most of the seating could not fathom what was going on. In fact, the whole ‘hearing’ had a Kafkaesque quality with an added farcical element: the “judges” all sat, being served coffee, while the “supplicants”, applicants or objectors, had to stand, bowing to explain their drawings/requests.
“The applications to develop this land began in 1994 when Mr Joseph Said, of Medina Glass, assayed to build 18 maisonettes with an appropriate number of garages. This was refused. Mr Said reapplied in 1998 to build four villas, which application was also refused. The name of the developer then changed to Joseph Baldacchino (murdered in Valletta in 2010) who was granted an outline permit in 2004, in spite of all the irregularities cited by the MEPA audit officer and many objectors.
“Thereafter Mr Said immediately resumed his role as developer and submitted a further application, this time to build three villas. He was granted a full development permit just before the elections on the 26 February 2008.
“MEPA officials are public servants, whose primary duty is to protect the Maltese environment for the sake of today’s and future generations of Maltese people. They are responsible to us, to be objective, fair, detailed in their investigations and professional. If they are not capable of fulfilling these duties, please let them resign. And surely they should resign because many of the decisions they are taking at the moment, and indeed for years now, bring disgrace on themselves and on Malta. From a land which was known for its bravery and honour, they are turning Malta into a country increasingly ashamed of itself.”
Sonja and John Besford
Triq G Borg Olivier