The developers behind the enormous sheep farm in a pristine Bidnija valley are ploughing ahead with the project and have applied to extend the development for the sheep to be able to graze and to build a large greenhouse.
The development is the subject of legal action regarding claims that the permit it had been given a few years ago was irregular.
As for the latest application, the Planning Authority’s agriculture experts appear to have suspected something was not quite right and have insisted that any further development on the site would be objectionable and not in the interest of agriculture.
In its latest analyses, the Agriculture Advisory Committee (AAC) noted that there are already many extra and unneeded rooms at the supposed farm, which has 40 female sheep and is not considered to be of any agricultural importance.
“There are several rooms which are not required such as: several stores, sick bays, incoming sheep/receiving area, product out – from upstairs, farmer’s/staff resting area, watchman room, admin area, entrance area, power room, logging station, excessive milking parlour,” the AAC said.
In other words, the AAC shot down the latest proposals and said it “has doubts that the proposal is for genuine farming activity”.
It also said that the developer’s proposal to utilise land next to the farm to graze sheep outdoors does not make any sense as sheep should be kept inside. Also, the addition of a greenhouse at the back of the building, which resembles a villa more than it does a farm, is also objectionable.
ERA and SCH also object to new plans
Near identical concerns and objections were raised once again by the Environment and Resources Authority and the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage during the latest round of consultation on the new application.
The SCH carried out a site inspection and objected to the application by stating that the greenhouse should not be allowed and that no further outdoor development should take place due to the environmental degradation the development has already wreaked on Ghajn Rihana Valley.
According to the Superintendence, the proposal is unacceptable as “it will constitute an increased negative visual impact on what already exists on the surrounding pristine cultural landscape and on long-distance views of the area.”
The ERA also reiterated its objections to any further development, insisting that the farm is completely out of place.
The sheep farm was approved by the Planning Authority in 2019 by the then-notorious Outside Development Zone permit boss Elizabeth Ellul.
Despite hundreds of objections, Ellul gave a green light for the development to turn a field into a supposed farm which its owner, architect Konrad Bezzina, also wanted to use as his residence.
The farmer used as the applicant for the project, Jason Vella, was also given clearance for a €150,000 EU grant to subsidise the building of the ‘sheep farm’.
Although Vella is still fronting the application, Planning Authority documents name Bidnija Farming Enterprises Ltd as the project’s owner.
That company is fully owned by Bezzina, while its former director, lawyer Peter Carbonaro, resigned soon after the scandal was reported in the media.
… On fait pousser des chèvres, on fabrique des bijoux
On peut pas dire qu’on s’crève, l’travail, c’est pas pour nous
On a des plantations, pas énormes, trois hectares
D’une herbe qui rend moins con, non, c’est pas du Ricard, non, c’est pas du Ricard
We grow goats, we make jewellery.
We can’t say we are killing ourselves, work isn’t for us
We have plantations, not big, 3 hectares
of a herb which makes you less stupid, no it’s not pastis, it’s not pastis.
Lol….Renaud – deserteur ftw
Is this a question of how bulky the brown envelope(s) should be?
Hope it is not!
Qed tara x’jigri meta titma’ lill-kukkudrill biex tintoghgob mieghu? Jerga’ jigi ghal gidma ohra u ohra u ohra. U fl-ahhar jiekol lilek. GRAZZI CHURCHILL.
U l-Labour jahseb li jista’ jsalva ghax jitma’ l-kulludrilli bl-ikel li mhuwiex tieghu… Dan l-ezempju hu thanzira, qerq, hadma mahmuga, u qed tithalla tipperpetwa.
Maybe it needs a pool room for the sheep so they can have a dip, the planners must be baaaarking mad if they think this is just going to be a sheep farm, they really are having the wool pulled over their eyes.
Alla jbierek kemm sejjer tajjeb dal bidwi. Jien bidwi bhalu izda bidwi ta veru u biex iregolizajt kamra li ma kellix permes u kelli bzon biex naplika ghal fondi tal europa qalawli fwiedi. Ghawn Malta skont min int u lil min taf.