Hundreds call for halt to Portelli Miżieb development, petition sent to MPs

A petition calling for a halt to the planned construction of six villas in the middle of the Miżieb woodlands in Mellieħa has been submitted to all parliament members in a bid to raise support against the “unnecessary development” and “safeguard our environment.”

Following media reports of the outside development zone (ODZ) villas and their “negative impact” flagged by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the petition was launched by Mellieħa local council candidate Gabriel Micallef.

At the time of writing, the petition has already garnered almost a thousand signatures, signalling significant opposition to the planned development.

The development, which would include six villas following the demolition of the existing abandoned Sunshine Tourist Complex, was proposed by CF Developers Ltd., part-owned by Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli.

The proposal was submitted through architect Maria Schembri Grima, the former Building and Construction Authority chairperson who resigned following the dangerous demolition of a Birkirkara building last year, part of another Portelli project.

The Miżieb development, first proposed last year, took advantage of existing developments approved in the 1960s and 70s and of a 2014 Rural Policy and Design Guidance, which allowed for the change of use of existing dwellings in outside development zones.

A case officer report for the application (PA/4255/23), issued earlier this month, recommended its approval. It said, “The redevelopment of an existing disturbed site is in line with the general principles of the RPDG 2014.”

Micallef’s petition claimed the proposal “exposes a critical flaw in our 2014 rural policy,” which has “allowed for loopholes that permit such developments on ODZ,” calling it “unacceptable.”

Micallef called for “immediate action” to be taken “against this proposal and any similar future proposals which threaten our precious natural spaces.”

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Micallef announced he had “sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives, urging them to acknowledge and address the proposed development in Miżieb.”

A preliminary report by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage last year said the development “would lead to further consolidation and formalisation of the site, having a negative impact on the rural and cultural landscape.”

Following the case officer report recommending its approval, the SCH softened its initial opinion in a final letter last week. While recommending “all the necessary measures to mitigate any potential impacts on the surrounding rural and cultural landscape,” it did not oppose the “re-development.”

The parliamentary petition calling for a halt to the development is open for signatures until 22 March 2024 and can be signed here.

                           

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Patrick Sciberras
Patrick Sciberras
1 month ago

Just signed petition

Last edited 1 month ago by Patrick Sciberras

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