Hondoq Local Plan should be changed back to original status

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Hondoq Local Plan should be changed back to original statusMoviment Harsien Hondoq together with Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Ramblers Association, NatureTrust, FOE Malta and Din l-Art Helwa are urging MEPA to revise the Local plan back to what it was before the 2006 local plans and refuse permit for the development of Hondoq.

In a letter to the Authority Moviment Harsien Hondoq said, the area of Hondoq was re-designated for tourism and marine related uses in 2006, without public consultation. MEPA’s Audit Office admitted that this lack of consultation should not have happened, considering the ‘substantial’ nature of the changes.

Previously, the policy agreed upon by MEPA and the Qala Local Council, stated that: “The preferred use is to reclaim the area either for agricultural use or afforestation.”

The NGO pointed out that “had the due consultation process been followed, it’s highly unlikely such changes would have been accepted.”

It also noted that MEPA’s Environment Protection Directorate & Natural Heritage Panel “have recommended the project’s refusal, as have Transport Malta & the Church Commission. Also the NGO’s, 85% of Qala residents, Qala’s Local Council and over 4400 petitioners are against it.

“The area also lies between two proposed Areas of Ecological Importance and is classified as an Area of High Landscape Sensitivity (AHLS), and a Category A Valley.”

The group said that “the Planning Authority talks of the importance of the high scenic value of Gozo’s coastline and valleys, and how these landscapes should be protected and enhanced for both Gozo’s quality of life and its economy.

“As an ODZ, Hondoq should have been protected by the policy which states that there is ‘a blanket prohibition of any form of urbanisation outside areas specifically designated for urban uses.’ (There are some exceptions, however most of these are ruled out by another policy regulating AHLS’s, which states: ‘Apart from the normal restrictions on development in rural areas, there shall be a strong presumption against the creation of new built structures.’)”

The NGO said that as a Category A Valley, there should normally be ‘no new physical development’ on its sides. The valley may have seen quarrying activity, “but is a valley nonetheless, and should undergo rehabilitation as per Rural Conservation Policy.”

“Also, conservation guidelines for the adjacent Areas of Ecological Importance range from ‘no residential, industrial or tourism development’ to ‘no physical development’ whatsoever. It is incongruous that a high density residential village should be allowed between two such areas,” the Movement said.

Moviment Harsien Hondoq has said to MEPA that it requests:

1. The MEPA Board accept the recommendation of their Environment Protection Directorate, and refuse to grant a permit for the development of Hondoq as a real estate/marina complex.

2. Hondoq is returned to its previous ODZ status as per the Local Plan agreed between Mepa and Qala Local Council.

3. Hondoq is designated as a National Park for everyone to enjoy for generations to come.

For more information on the petition please see the website.

Photograph of Hondoq in 1952.

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    7 Responses

    1. Anthoney says:

      Have just signed the petition and proud of it .Well done to MHH

    2. peter Paul says:

      Hondoq area should return to the general public and not to speculators .

      I will sign the petition now and urge all of yous to sign it as well

    3. Carmen camilleri says:

      Dear Paul B. you always work hard for this tranquil Bay I hope that your wish will come true. and that Mepa authority will realase the big mistakes that had done in the past.

    4. James A. Tyrrell says:

      It is high time MEPA realised that the ‘E’ stands for environment because up to now this part seems to have been overlooked if not indeed sold off to the highest bidder. Under the previous Government a lot of authorities were seen as corrupt and MEPA took top honours in that department. What point is there in having an Environment Protection Directorate if the MEPA Board are going to continuously ignore their recommendations. If any form of development takes place at Hondoq it will be the beginning of the end as far as environmental protection goes in Malta and the Labour Government will go down in history as the ones who carried out the execution. People voted Labour because they wanted to see an end to these sort of underhand speculative deals, so it is now up to Joseph Muscat to show that his Government means business when it comes to protecting the Maltese environment for the people.

    5. John Meli says:

      This speculative and corruption every body know about them, that Mepa authority has some thing else in their mind specially if there is money or ministers involved ,Mepa board don’t care about EU directions.

    6. marku says:

      Hondoq is ours not the developers .We inherited it from our ancestors and we should hand it back to our children

      • Joe Magro Qala says:

        How right you are Marku but try to tell the developers that because most of them don’t take no for any comments that we make

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