Planning Board to decide whether to withdraw permit for Ghar Gherduf site
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The Planning Authority has said in a statement today, that its Board will discuss and decide whether to be withdraw the development permission granted on a protected site at Ghar Gherduf, in Kercem, Gozo.
Protests have been made against the development by various NGOs and residents, as well as the Partit Demokratiku, all calling for the PA to halt the works, which include the excavation of foundation trenches for buildings which will be constructed in front of Gozo’s only surviving early Christian Catacombs.The Planning Authority said that last January, a permit was approved to build a terraced house on two floors. When the application was being processed, “the Planning Directorate considered the site as an Class B archaeological area.”
It added that “Government records show however, that the Ghar Gherduf site and the surrounding area, to 100m, were protected as a Class A category in October 2000.”
“The same discrepancy appeared on the Authority’s electronic system that is used by the Planning Directorate when evaluating applications,” the PA said.
“This discrepancy was pinpointed after the Chairman of the Executive Council of the Planning Authority Planning, Johann Buttigieg, asked for clarification on this permit,” it said.
“In view of this discrepancy, there are now grounds for the planning permit to be withdrawn.,” the Authority said.
In light of this fact, the Authority added, there will be an internal investigation as to how and why there was this discrepancy in the system.
The Authority concluded by saying that it will also conduct an audit of all the information that is published online on the same system.
Top photo by the Planning Authority and photo below by Wirt Ghawdex