MEPA Board rejects appeal for proposed Hondoq Project

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MEPA Appeals Board rejects appeal for Hondoq ProjectThe MEPA Appeal Tribunal this morning rejected an appeal for the proposed Hondoq ir-Rummein – Qala Creek project application.

The plans, put forward by Gozo Prestige had included the development of a large hotel, real estate units and a yacht marina, brought a public outcry. The developers then dropped the idea of the marina, limiting themselves to a ‘swimming lagoon’ for the proposed Qala Creek project.

The Appeals Board rejected the appeal for amendments to the project not to be considered as a new application. Therefore the developers would have to re-apply again should they want to continue with the proposal.

MEPA said  in a statement, “The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) today, ruled in MEPA’s favour, an appeal which had been submitted by the applicant of the Hondoq ir-Rummien project associated with the processing of the related planning application.

“The appeal, which was made by the applicant in December 2011, related to a letter the applicant received from the directorate informing them that, the then, newly submitted plans associated with the project, constituted a material change and so altered the nature of the existing application.

“These changes merited that a new application is submitted for the Authority’s consideration. The Authority also informed the applicant that the processing of the existing application had been nearly finalised, with the EIA report having already been published.

“The Authority, in the appeal, reiterated that the applicant could not appeal at this stage from correspondence from the Authority to the applicant and could only appeal after a final decision by the MEPA Board. This was upheld by the Tribunal.”

It is expected that MEPA will, in the coming weeks, decide whether to grant or refuse the permit.

Previously Environmental NGOs in a joint statement had called on the MEPA Board to reject the appeal for the Hondoq proposal, saying “85% of Qala’s residents voted against the project, over 4400 people signed a petition against it.” The NGO’s Moviment Harsien Hondoq, FAA, Nature Trust, Ramblers, Friends of the Earth and, Din L-art Helwa also said that they “are against any sort of development at Hondoq.”

The NGOs said that “in the first project proposal, the developers had placed great emphasis on the fact that the marina was to be the unique attraction that would attract people to stay in the hotel and make it viable, in what is a weak market for 5 star hotels. They also said that 200 apartments were necessary to make the project viable.

The application was also opposed by the Qala Local Council and The Church’s Environment Commission, among others.

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    6 Responses

    1. James A. Tyrrell says:

      Good news indeed. It’s about time MEPA started to protect what little is left of the Maltese environment. This is a decision for the people and is the result of all the work put in by Paul and Carmen Buttigieg and Astrid Vella from FAA. Well done to everyone who has fought for Hondoq. Hopefully we are now one step closer to seeing a nature reserve at Hondoq for all the people to enjoy.

      • Sabine Ferguson says:

        Very good news indeed James!!l!
        The next one should be the ban on hunting. Bottom line. Final.

    2. daniel says:

      Well done paul your hard work paid off .Now mepa should refuse this nonsence of a proposal.

      We all love hondoq the way god gave it to us .Now apply to turn it to a national pakr how the previous council wanted

    3. Dietmar Treptow says:

      Indeed – good news . But – we will wait whats happen in the future !
      ” The ” don’t will give up .

    4. Lesley Gail Kreupl says:

      Excellent news!
      Would Gozo Prestige now kindly take a one-way trip to outer Siberia where they can try and sell some green-gated-communities to the Russian millionaires.
      Well done, everyone who contributed to this project, especially Paul and Carmen.

    5. Peppi says:

      Hondoq area should be as a national park .the same way it was meant to be .Well don sos hondoq I do go ther almost all summer with my kids we need hondoq

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