Wardija works create eyesore in picturesque ‘high value’ valley

Works on two adjacent parcels of land at Wied Bufula in Wardija, ostensibly reconstructing traditional rubble walls, have expanded into what locals have called “an environmental scar” by uprooting several mature trees in the area’s picturesque terraced fields.

Two permits for the area for the “maintenance, reconstruction and reinstatement of the rubble walls” were approved last May despite both having been recommended for refusal by the Planning Authority’s case officer and both lacking the required endorsement by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the Environment and Resources Authority.

Locals who contacted The Shift on condition of anonymity claimed that “the development went far beyond that described in the permits and involved the uprooting of protected trees and the levelling of land.”

The works, which cover an area reportedly around 30 tumoli in size, the equivalent of around 34,000 square metres, or almost five football pitches, were applied for by Joseph Cremona in 2021 with Stanley Cortis serving as the architect.

The site in March 2022 when it was characterised by lush vegetation. Photo: Planning Authority

Cremona applied for the permits’ (PA/6047/21 and PA/7058/21) approval on behalf of Ghajn Rasul Ltd, a company listed as being directed by Saviour and Andrew Cremona.

The case officer reports point out that the land in question is scheduled as having high landscape value. The reports state that the “interventions cannot be favourably accepted” since they run counter to legal notices that protect existing rubble walls.

In its consultation with the application, the Environment and Resources Authority noted that “the walls will be increased significantly in height,” asserting that “the introduction of parapet walls is not acceptable” and that “the proposed interventions will lead to significant negative visual impacts and incompatibly with the natural surrounding environment.”

It further stated that “The site in question is heavily characterised with vegetation,” and that “it is therefore unclear how works on site will be carried out without degrading or clearing the existing vegetation and obliterating the natural state of the site during demolition and construction works”.

While noting that “not all rubble walls are in a dilapidated state,” the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage also noted a traditional girna on site which had been improperly noted by the applicant and it urged for its protection.

The case officer report also notes an “illegal hunters hide within the site” and called for its sanctioning or removal before the application was to be considered further.

Despite the issues raised by various entities and that both case officer reports recommended for the applications’ refusal, both permits were granted in April 2022, with recently started works creating the exact “negative visual impacts” that had been predicted.

The site, located at the center of the valley is clearly visible from the St Paul’s Bay bypass. Photo: Google Maps

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Toni Borg
Toni Borg
26 days ago

that can be simply defined as an ecological disaster!!!

In a few years time, he soil will be uprooted to make space for 2 villas each with it’s own pool……just wait and see

25 days ago

ERA, PA rules and regulations are elastic. Mafiamalta ran by mafiabosses.

Galea Robert
Galea Robert
25 days ago

Adjacent to the roundabout just preceding the road leading to Imtarfa there is a wall which has been built lately. It should have been a rubble wall but instead it is a retaining wall. A lot of soil is being lost each time rain occurs. A rubble wall would have sifted the soil from water allowing the latter to pass through. the competent authorities should take action immediately.

22 days ago

Will this massacre in the little of what is left of our nature ever stop????!! Malta does not need rubble walls built with concrete in the middle. Rubble walls are built with soil between stones so that water can filter slowly. Leave it if you cannot do it properly !

Related Stories

Joseph Muscat claims no need to inform the European Commission of Electrogas’ Security of Supply Agreement
During his fourth appearance before the Public Accounts Committee,
Chamber wants budget to tackle change towards sustainable economic model
The Malta Chamber – Malta’s largest representative body of

Our Awards and Media Partners

Award logo Award logo Award logo