The Ramblers’ Association of Malta appeals to the Mepa Board to refuse the proposal to extend the
Portomaso development by 46 new apartments on a site that constitutes an ecological zone as well as a
buffer zone for the historic entrenchment wall. If Mepa is truly guided by its own rules, it should uphold
them; refusal should thus come as a matter of principle in view of the facts that:
1. the original permits were given on the explicit condition that the area is left free of urban
development for its historical and landscape value;
2. public access to the foreshore, which is a constitutional right, will be further impeded
in the area;
3. Local Plan density specifications will be further infringed, so much so that three permits
were cited as precedents by the project’s architect himself;
4. an ecological zone does not lose its status on the premise that one species has lost its hold,
especially when this can be re‐introduced;
5. it is inconcievable that further development can in any way improve the “design and
quality of the project”.
Ramblers have read with great concern the report in the Sunday Times of the 22nd April , where the
objectors called the Case Officer’s report “pure treachery.” We strongly believe MEPA should have
investigated the report very seriously, as, in our opinion, the endorsing case officer has downplayed or
ignored the policy conditions that strongly militate against the proposal, and has recommended
approval, just as in the Tas‐Sellum application by the same developer.
The Mepa Board members might find a very interesting correlation with this other application at Tas‐
Sellum, endorsed by the same case officer. They might want to take a good look at the
recommendation for more dwelling intensity when the Local Plan explicitly prohibits it. In fact the
NWLP 13 (Chp17.2.14) states the “policy was formulated within the constraints created by the
development permission and to ensure that the provisions of that permission are not reviewed with
consequent development application requests.” Sadly, the Mepa Board accepted the case officer’s
recommendation and approved the application. This same PA is now under appeal by an objector.
If Portomaso is a massive success, as the applicant’s architect maintains, it does not need the extension
to “tie it all together.” Rather, the extension will add to its already bulky mass.
This will be an application which will put to the test how well the Mepa Board members scrutinize the
credibility of reports endorsed by Planning Directorate.
23 April 2012