Warehouse complex threatens Ħal-Farruġ ODZ

The residents of Ħal-Farruġ and eleven NGOs reiterate their objection to the demolition of an existing farm on ODZ to be replaced by a warehouse complex. Over 600 objections, including by the Saint Sebastian’s firework factory and the Luqa Local Council, have been made to the Planning Authority since the application was first filed in 2018. There are several reasons why the proposed development should be refused, which the Case Officer has also agreed with.

Firstly, the architect stated that the farm is not used anymore. This is misleading as animals are still being kept on site, running counter to the policy that stipulates that a farm must not have been used for 10 years before it can be demolished. Moreover, even if this were so, according to the Rural Policy and Design Guidance, a farm cannot be demolished and/or converted to any development of industrial use. Apart from this, part of the land is arable. The architect is proposing to get rid of this agricultural land and turn it into a storage area. Recently, the applicant applied for a change in the development purpose from Class 5A to Class 6A as Storage and Distribution, in which the Case Officer recommended refusal once again.

The application also runs counter to another policy in the RPDG which states that for such a development to take place, it must already be serviced by a road network. No such thing exists in Ħal-Farruġ, a quiet area where not even a grocery is allowed. A Traffic Impact Assessment has found this project to be unsustainable “due to the additional unplanned impacts it will have on already congested strategic roads in the area”. This is not to mention what a great disturbance such a massive development would be for the residents – an industrial development has absolutely no place in a residential area.

Another misleading piece of information in the application is the car park being proposed within an existing disused quarry. What the architect failed to mention was that most of the quarry had already been restored into arable land with several mature trees quite a few years ago. Should this development be allowed, all the trees will have to be uprooted, and coupled with the loss of arable land, there is no environmental benefit that can come out of the industrial project.

Furthermore, the site where the farm is located lies within a beautiful, unspoilt valley. A complex of warehouses would not only be an eyesore, but would actually destroy the landscaping of the surrounding area. No industrial project can complement the natural and quiet environment of the place, let alone one of this size.

The application is being recommended for refusal by the PA’s Case Officer. NGOs and residents support this refusal for the reasons mentioned above, and call on the Planning Board to heed the Case Officer’s advice.

  1. ACT
  2. BirdLife Malta
  3. Din l-Art Ħelwa
  4. Extinction Rebellion Malta
  5. Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
  6. Friends of the Earth Malta
  7. Moviment Graffitti
  8. Nature Trust Malta
  9. Ramblers’ Association of Malta
  10. Rota
  11. The Archaeological Society Malta