Betting shop in heart of Senglea 'contravenes urban conservation areas policy' - FAA
Environment NGO Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar said today it was supporting the view of a number of Senglea residents that a proposed betting shop/gaming hall in the heart of the city should not be granted a permit.
An application for the betting shop to be set up in a palazzo on Senglea's main road is due to be discussed by Mepa tomorrow.
"One month ago, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of Cottonera Forum and some local residents objected to this application at Mepa on the grounds that it contravenes the guidelines as to what commercial outlets are allowed in urban conservation areas and due to the fact that it does not enhance the quality of life of residents in this city.
"Efforts to improve the social fabric of Cottonera are beginning to bear fruit and the future could be a bright one if cultural tourism were to be developed to the benefit of the residents...allowing this application for a gaming room in an old historical building would open the doors to many others and would effectively nullify all the official policies and programmes related to social regeneration and the upgrading of Urban Conservation Areas," the FAA said.
"Gaming rooms are contrary to the promotion of good neighbourliness inherent in the Grand Harbour Local Plan which encourages small-scale retail space in or order to keep our towns and villages alive. The change of use from class 4 shop into a class 9 gambling hall would represent a loss of retail shopping space and thus be contrary to policy GL18 of the area plan for Senglea."
The society argued that research showed that slot-machine establishments did not target those with disposable incomes but rather those who could not afford to waste their income.
FAA noted that in Cospicua, the Mayor had been able to stop six applications for gaming rooms in his city. However Senglea Local Council appeared to have failed to take an active role in this matter. It was hoped that this council would be present to protect the community's interests at the Mepa hearing tomorrow.