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The Planning Authority has rejected an application for a new road and residential dwellings on 5,000 sqm of agricultural land in Għarb.

This comes after months of uncertainty, with residents of the area concerned for their livelihood and wellbeing, as well as the major ramifications that such an approval would have had for Malta and Gozo.

“We cannot even consider this application, the case can stop here,” said the Planning Authority’s Executive Chairman Martin Saliba a few moments before the vote was taken. 

The architect Emanuel Vella was also questioned on why they decided to go through with the application, even when the PA had refused to endorse the application.

“I understand that this application cannot be considered as it goes against article 54, the reason why we went through with it anyway was to construct the new road so it can be used by residents of the area,” the architect Emanuel Vella said during the meeting. 

Soon after, the Executive Council took a vote, and the application was rejected. The case hearing only went on for around 25 minutes, as the final decision seemed to be an obvious one.

Plans outlined the proposal of a new street to serve as an alternate access to Triq Birbuba, and also to change the zoning of a part of the land to residential development. The application was also being led by one of Joseph Portelli’s employees, Justin Caruana.

The application was met by resistance, especially from the residents of the area and many environmentalists and activists who joined in the fight. 

A day before the representations period ended, the local council had unanimously voted against the development.

Lovin Malta had also gone up to Għarb to meet and speak with the residents whose’ houses touched upon the proposed site, as well as a retreat health and wellness centre.

Over 1, 200 representations had been filed against the development.

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