FAA ac­cuses PA of ‘sys­tem­at­i­cally’ ig­nor­ing her­itage poli­cies to make way for more de­vel­op­ment

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The Plan­ning Au­thor­ity is set to ap­prove the com­plete de­vel­op­ment of one of the last re­main­ing un-built ar­eas of Pi­eta to make way for more apart­ments, Flimkien ghal Am­b­jent Ah­jar said.

This rare pocket of agri­cul­tural land found on Triq Pi­etru Xuereb presently boasts a num­ber of ma­ture trees, in­clud­ing al­mond trees, prickly pears and Cyprus trees among oth­ers.

“Be­ing over 50 years old th­ese trees should be pro­tected, but de­spite this, all will be re­moved once the ap­pli­ca­tion is ap­proved,” the eNGO said.

“In ad­di­tion to the loss of open space and green­ery within this built-up area, the de­vel­op­ment will re­sult in the de­mo­li­tion of a his­toric tool-room be­lieved to be over 250 years old, and risk dam­ag­ing a World War II shel­ter lo­cated on site.”

FAA said the Su­per­in­ten­dence of Cul­tural Her­itage ap­proved the ap­pli­ca­tion on con­di­tion that the ap­pli­cant sub­mit pho­tos clearly show­ing the tool-room be­ing pro­posed for de­mo­li­tion as well as sub­mit­ting a plan in­di­cat­ing the ex­act lo­ca­tion of the World War II shel­ter.

Th­ese pho­tos should have been sub­mit­ted be­fore ap­proval for the Su­per­in­ten­dence to firstly as­sess the her­itage value tool-room and ad­vise on whether it should be re­tained, and se­condly, to un­der­stand if the pro­posal will dam­age the World War II shel­ters.

“The ap­pli­cant did not sub­mit any such in­for­ma­tion, and there­fore since the Su­per­in­ten­dent’s con­di­tions were not met, the rec­om­men­da­tion for ap­proval is no longer valid.

“De­spite this, through a warped in­ter­pre­ta­tion of facts, the PA’s case of­fi­cer stated that even though the de­vel­oper did not sub­mit the re­quired pho­tos, the Su­per­in­ten­dent’s ap­proval still stands.

“The case of­fi­cer con­cludes that the pho­to­graphic in­for­ma­tion show­ing the value of this her­itage build­ing re­quested by the Su­per­in­ten­dence is not nec­es­sary due to the fact that the tool-room is lo­cated on a planned schemed road that has been ap­proved by Trans­port Malta.

“The case of­fi­cer goes on to com­pletely ig­nore the sec­ond con­di­tion raised by the Su­per­in­ten­dence about lo­cat­ing the World War II shel­ters, and pro­ceeds to give the ap­pli­ca­tion a rec­om­men­da­tion for ap­proval.”

FAA ques­tioned how clear­ance from Trans­port Malta for the con­struc­tion of a road jus­ti­fies de­mol­ish­ing a cen­turies-old tool room form­ing part of our cul­tural her­itage.

“This is es­pe­cially un­jus­ti­fied when the ‘schemed road’ planned is sim­ply a round­about pro­vid­ing ac­cess to the pro­posed pri­vate apart­ment block, mean­ing we are de­mol­ish­ing her­itage to fa­cil­i­tate yet more spec­u­la­tive de­vel­op­ment.

“Fur­ther­more, what was the scope of ask­ing the Su­per­in­ten­dent for their rec­om­men­da­tion if the Plan­ning Au­thor­ity had no in­ten­tion of con­sid­er­ing their pro­fes­sional opin­ion to be­gin with?”

The Plan­ning Com­mis­sion is set to take a de­ci­sion for this ap­pli­ca­tion on Fri­day, and will likely ap­prove the con­cret­ing of more un-built land along with the de­struc­tion of her­itage, this hav­ing proven to be their mantra time and time again, FAA said.

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