Caravan park plan is thrown out
The Environment Planning Tribunal has dismissed an appeal to build a 1,000 square metre caravan park in a development zone in Naxxar.
Situated in Ta’ Jelli area in Naxxar, close to Magħtab, the site had been slapped with an enforcement notice in 2001 because it had already started operating illegally as a caravan park.
The developer turned to the tribunal after the planning authority threw out an application to build the park because it did not fall in line with the area’s policies. The site falls within an area of agricultural value and is classified as a rural settlement.
Converting the site into a caravan park “will lead to the degradation of the agricultural value” of the site and “further unnecessary take-up of fresh land for development”, the planning authority had said.
The applicant argued that the Magħtab area, which was close to the landfill, was committed to various industrial and agricultural developments and there were no other places to park the caravans.
The controversial issue of caravan parks came under the media spotlight during the past week when campers at Marsaxlokk bay were evicted after five men assaulted a man protesting against the campsite.
According to planning policies, acceptable land uses for the Magħtab area are farmhouses for livestock use, agricultural buildings and retail outlets for farms.
The planning authority had said: “The proposed caravan park constitutes a land use which is non-compliant with the permitted uses in the rural settlement.” It added that it was “an unjustified urban type of development” at the expense of other agricultural uses.
The tribunal also noted that a number of planning applications had been refused on grounds of loss of agricultural land. However, illegal development still took place.
It also threw out the applicant’s argument that there were no other areas to park caravans. While admitting there were a number of uses that did not fall in line with the area’s policies, the tribunal said these had taken place before the local plans were established.
“The aim of the local plan is to stop these uses to allow the place, over time, to regain its rural character,” the tribunal said.