BirdLife objects to third apartment block next to Simar nature reserve

An application for a third apartment block adjacent to the Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija has been filed with the planning authority, confirming fears by BirdLife Malta that the reserve will be boxed in through piecemeal fashion, according to a statement on Friday morning.

The application (PA/3475/23) for the development, which will see the construction of additional storeys turning a two-storey bungalow into a seven-storey apartment block, was made public just days after a BirdLife Malta press conference on 8 June raising concerns about two other apartment blocks being constructed in the area.

In its statement, BirdLife Malta argued that the development will impact the reserve during both its construction and operational phases, “threatening both the ecological and educational value of the protected wetland.”

BirdLife Malta also said the response submitted by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) was unsatisfactory, with their submission, which according to BirdLife Malta was only filed following a letter to ERA CEO Kevin Mercieca, only noting light pollution concerns and “failing to address other potential impacts including those during construction since the area is committed to development.”

BirdLife Malta Head of Land Management Mark Gauci said “It is discouraging to see a nature reserve being subjected to such an intensification of development next door, with not much hope elicited from the responsible authorities in making the situation right,” with the proposal being “a realisation of what [BirdLife Malta] initially feared.”

The proposed development will overlook the Simar Nature Reserve Photo: PA

In response to BirdLife Malta’s 8 June press conference and accompanying photo montage showing what the area could look like if developments similar to the two existing blocks were approved, the Planning Authority had issued a statement slamming the photo montage as ‘misleading’.

The Authority had argued that the photo montage was “incorrect and completely misleading” and that it had “nothing to do with the approved project in question”, accusing BirdLife Malta of trying to confuse readers. The Authority had also claimed that the approved developments’ windows would not face the reserve.

The freshly submitted plans for a third new apartment block show a partial a of what BirdLife Malta fears would happen if all the bungalows along Triq il-Pwales were green-lit to be developed in a similar way.

BirdLife Malta has argued that the “contentious issue with the Simar area is however a misapplication of planning policies”, and will contest the development at a tribunal.

Representations are being accepted by the Planning Authority until 14 July, with the application itself still awaiting a recommendation. Objections may be filed here.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Stories

Opinion: von der Leyen’s visit, was that really the best we could do?
Friday was an exciting day for the Maltese government
Residents, NGOs against proposed four-storey Sliema guesthouse and restaurant
Sliema residents object to a development application for a

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo