Saturday, 15 August 2009

PR on Bahrija development - Environment groups want all permits withdrawn

Ramblers' Association, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar and Nature Trust consider it a waste of time and resources that the Mepa Board decided to revoke only the last permit issued to Dr Scerri for the development on the Bahrija Valley floor. The fact that the decision was almost unanimous does not increase the NGOs’ faith in the Mepa Board if their decision implies the endorsement of the previous three building permits. For it is clearly evident and it has been amply certified by the Mepa Auditor that similar irregularities prevailed in both the original permit (PA 2835/00) and the subsequent permit which now allegedly comes in force (PA 6321/02). All three development applications were issued contrary to approved policy, and as confirmed by the Mepa Auditor, were issued illegally.

In the opinion of the NGOs the same Board sitting should have applied the same Art 39a also to the two previous applications on the grounds of false declarations, in that the site was wrongly described as level and the existing buildings misleadingly described “existing dwellings” The Mepa auditor pronounced in clear terms that there was “a puerile attempt at misleading” the Authority all along because the applicant never meant to rehabilitate but “wanted to demolish whatever existed on site and rebuild a new building.”

The Board should have realized that the four applications cannot be taken individually but must be treated holistically as the Architect masterfully intended and drew them.

The NGOs note with satisfaction that Mr Seychell, Head of the Environment Directorate, made it amply clear that the Bahrija valley floor is protected by the EU’s Habitats Directive against any development that will not enhance the ecological system there, and any new development in SAC needs full permission from the EPD. For this reason they call on Mepa to do its duty and insist that the site be restored to its former state.

The NGOs take this opportunity to point out that other applications by architects known for their scarce respect for the environment have been, and are still being, processed with similar irregularity. It is hoped that Mepa will act in good time to halt these applications before they reach the Mepa Board stage.

They have always been careful to adopt an apolitical approach in the protection of the environment and condemn indiscriminately architects and speculators who break or bend the rules, as well as the various boards and directorates within MEPA when these reach decisions which run counter to Policies.


jennifer said...
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