MaltaToday | 31 August 2008

NEWS | Sunday, 31 August 2008

Nadur apartments ring MEPA’s heritage alarms

MEPA defers decision after MaltaToday reveals absence of archaeological study

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) has postponed a meeting that was set to approve a massive block of 55 apartments, 18 penthouses and 108 garages next to the old Nadur cemetery in Ta’ Kenuna, because the required archaeological impact assessment was not carried out.
The MEPA board met on Wednesday: the same day that MaltaToday Midweek revealed how two years ago, the authority had issued a preliminary outline permit for the same development on condition that an ‘Archaeological Impact Assessment’ is carried out.
The same permit also obliged the developers to conduct “a geo-technical study carried out by a person competent in this field”.
These two conditions were not met, but the case officer report still recommended an approval of the project.
While the outline permit envisioned 52 dwellings and 47 garages, the full permit application refers to the construction of 73 new units and 108 garages.
On Wednesday whoever, when MaltaToday revealed that the impact assessment had not been carried out, the MEPA’s Development Control Commission (DCC) deferred the case.
The MEPA Board has now asked the case officer to clarify this matter before taking any decision on this development.
In the original case officer’s report, it is noted that MEPA’s own heritage panel thought the impact assessment was useless because “this may not reveal any other archaeological features on site, until complete clearance of the site is carried out.”
The panel simply recommended the imposition of a bank guarantee on the developers, to ensure that works are monitored.
With regards to the existing cart-ruts on site, the panel said that since these were integrated within the project, the project is acceptable. The case officer recommended a €69,900 (Lm30,000) bank guarantee so that the cart-rut is retained, and not damaged or destroyed.
Nadur residents also claim the land in question lies on very sensitive terrain and that the whole area is geographically unstable. They had written to the prime minister, warning him that digging up the land to include all the garages would expose the clay strata, and weaken the terrain.
And while the case officer’s report never denied their claims, it only stated that this was the responsibility of the architect of the project, and that every ‘full development’ permit is issued with the standard condition that a permit must respect third party rights.


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