Residents protest against the over-development of St Julian's
Some 200 people gathered at Spinola Bay this morning to call for a study on the impact of construction in St Julian's.
The protesters, some carrying banners and wearing dust masks, shouted throughout the protest "Save St Julian's Halluna Niehdu Nifs".
Some of the banners read were "Tfal Jimirdu", "Respect our Heritage", "Care for our Environment".
Astrid Vella from Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar said the organisation was not against construction but laws had to be respected.
The FAA had consulted with the EU and the people had a right for a study on the cumulative impact of the different construction projects.
She said she knew people who moved to St Julian's and started suffering from asthma.
Apart from environment impact and inconvenience, there was also the socio-economic impact as St Julian's depended on tourism.
Michel Spiteri, a member of the St Julian's Residents' Association, said he had been brought up in St Julian's and saw the town change drastically over the years. Residents now had to face congestion, noise and traffic problems.
He noted that there were over 4,000 vacant properties, yet the Malta Environment and Planning Authority kept allowing the construction of more projects.
He called for cooperation from the Commissioner of Police for better police surveillance of the area.
Mr Spiteri also called for better planning by Mepa, which, he said, should look at whole picture.
The protest, attended by, among others, Nationalist MP Karl Gouder, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo, AD chairman Michael Briguglio, mayor Peter Bonello, the St Julian's council and the Balluta Residents Association, was sparked by the proposed development on the Villa Frieres site in the heart of Spinola.
The application proposes the restoration and use of the villa as a diplomatic residence and the building of 21 apartments overlying shops in Spinola square. The project was recommended for approval despite being a seven-storey project in a three-storey area.