Manoel Island development proposal breaches Valletta UNESCO buffer zone – NGOs

Environmental NGOs Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) and Moviment Graffitti have raised concerns about the imminent approval of a proposed residential and commercial complex on Manoel Island, claiming it breaches a buffer zone required for Valletta to preserve its UNESCO status.

In a press release on Wednesday afternoon, less than a day before the Planning Authority board approves the massive multi-block complex proposed by MIDI, the NGOs noted how the development “is wholly within the buffer zone proposed by the Ministry of Culture.”

The referenced buffer zone was proposed at the end of last year as part of the documentation required for Valletta to retain its UNESCO World Heritage status. The prestigious recognition was at risk of being lost following government inaction on a management plan required since 2011.

The NGOs said, “If this project is approved before the Valletta Buffer Zone is ratified, it would flout UNESCO’s communication with the Maltese authorities.”

The buffer zone (outlined in purple) is proposed in a December 2023 management plan for Valletta to retain its UNESCO World Heritage status.

UNESCO had drawn attention to the proposed development on Manoel Island and called on the authorities to ensure that the ‘Views and Vistas analysis’ required as part of the management plan would be completed before MIDI’s proposal was approved.

According to a draft management plan published by the government in December, the Views and Vistas analysis would be compiled as a separate document.

“This important Views and Vistas analysis has been withheld from the public, and the Ministry of Culture has refused FAA’s official request” for its release, they said.

“Did the Government drag its feet for 14 years since its 2010 proposed buffer zone was rejected by UNESCO to first approve the MIDI project?” they questioned.

MIDI’s proposal, set for approval on Thursday morning, would see the construction of 323 luxury apartments over several blocks across the islet.

A permit for the project in conjunction with the Tigné Point development was first given in 1999 but was later downscaled in a 2021 master plan. New proposals submitted to the planning authority last year have enlarged the project once again to a footprint of more than 20,000 square metres.


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1 month ago

They always say this but nothing ever changes

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