Għajnsielem local council expected to object to ODZ flats and supermarket

The Għajnsielem Local Council is expected to join opposition to an application for an 18-unit residential apartment block, pool, supermarket, retail shop and three underground levels of car parking seeking to be built partially on outside development zone land.

This is the second application filed for an extensive development on the same plot of land in Għajnsielem. The first, for a supermarket and plant nursery, was withdrawn by the applicant in 2022 following an unfavourable report by the Environment and Resources Authority.

The local council had already objected to a development application on an adjacent site. Għajnsielem Mayor Kevin Cauchi told The Shift that the council had “recently successfully objected to the development of an adjacent solar farm and is similarly concerned,” referring to a 2017 application on ODZ land filed by German company Pandja Co. Ltd, which was rejected by the Planning Authority in 2021.

Speaking to The Shift on the new application filed for a residential block and retail centre, Cauchi said the local council would discuss the application next week, raising concerns about the proposed development’s proximity to archaeological sites in the area and the fact it would be partially built on ODZ land.

A previous application on the same land had proposed the construction of a supermarket with greenhouses and a plant nursery in the area, with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage raising concerns about the area’s “archaeological sensitivity being located within 38m of two Neolithic domestic structures”.

Both the previously rejected application for a solar farm and the newly proposed apartment block and retail centre, reported recently by The Shift, have Alexander Bigeni listed as their architect.

The Shift reported last year how Bigeni regularly worked with developer Joseph Portelli and was associated with at least five applications to develop livestock farms in ODZ areas in Gozo, forming part of a group of five Labour Party-linked architects with an application approval rate of more than 90% since 2013.

The applicant for the latest proposed development along L-Imġarr road is Francesco Ranier Grima. The Shift reported in July 2022 that Grima was awarded an €80,000 a year tender from the Gozo Ministry through his company, Elzan Construction Ltd.

The five-year contract was for offices to be used by the Gozo Regional Development Authority, with the €400,000 price tag being far above the established value and current market prices for similar properties in the same location, Victoria.

The application for the apartments and retail centre (PA/4619/23)  is still awaiting a Planning Authority case officer recommendation, with objections accepted until 18 September.

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saviour mamo
saviour mamo
29 days ago

We have to learn to say “No” to these applications. There are more than enough supermarkets in Malta and Gozo, and there are thousands of empty apartments.

28 days ago

L giegu li l Maltin jiddejnu biex jakwistaw toqba min ghandu! U l Ghawdxi li jtih xi dar li jkun wiret!

Carmelo borg
28 days ago

Il bierah kont ghawdex ezatt fuq ix xellug ta DAK il ritratt li gibtu int u sejjer tistax tghod 12 il TOWER CRANE fuq ix xaqliba tax xewkija.

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