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Over 1,000 objections by residents have been submitted to the Planning Authority in relation to a proposal to convert a stretch of land outside the development zone (ODZ) to residential use, showing residents’ anger at such projects, Moviment Graffitti has said.  

The proposal was first reported on by Lovin Malta, after concerned residents reached out to voice their anger at the plans. Last week, the locality’s council also took a position against the proposal, as have many civil society organisations.

“Over 1,000 Gozitan and Maltese residents have objected to an application to change the zoning of 5,387 sqm of agricultural land that is currently designated as ODZ land to residential development, not to mention the flagrant disregard for a number of planning and development laws,” Moviment Graffitti said in a statement this morning. 

The group said that the rezoning of ODZ land to residential development was “clearly prohibited” by the country’s laws and counter to several planning policies. 

“The Planning Authority is therefore bound to refuse the application on these grounds, and we are retaining the authorities directly responsible for breach of law if their decision is in favour,” it said. 

It warned that should the application be accepted, it would set a “very ugly precedent and pave the way for further devastation of the Gozitan landscape and rural setting, spelling the disaster for Għarb and other quaint Gozitan villages”. 

It said that the Birbuba area in Għarb served as a “green enclave”  and a much-needed open space that offers respite from the “uglification” tainting the Maltese landscape. 

The civil society group said that besides being prized for its tranquil, quaint setting and rural authenticity, the land is also used for agricultural purposes. The land’s urbanisation, it said, would spell disaster for the agricultural community, it said.

Moreover, it pointed to the fact that the application was being led by one of Joseph Portelli’s employees

“Applications such as this are clear evidence of the impunity enjoyed by certain developers, who will go to all lengths to satiate their insatiable greed.” 

The group concluded by saying that Gozitans were tired of pollution, noise, chaos and environmental destruction.   

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