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Delimara hotel redevelopment proposal in ODZ area unacceptable

Three NGOs in joint call on PA to refuse permission for development

Three environmental NGOs are calling on the Planning Authority to refuse permit for the redevelopment of an existing derelict hotel outside development zone and close to several protected sites.

The hotel is proposed in the area known as Ta’ Kalanka in Delimara.

The authority is expected to come to a decision about the development on Thursday.

BirdLife Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar and Nature Trust said in a statement the redevelopment proposal was unacceptable.

It was in a very remote and rural area on the Delimara Peninsula and the introduction of a hotel, being marketed as a form of eco-lodging, would permanently alter its natural state and pave the way for new development.

If approved, the application would feed the ongoing continued depletion of Malta’s limited green areas, once again for short-term economic gain to the detriment of the people.

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The proposed development on the ruins of another hotel, which closed down in the 1980s had an additional footprint of 561m². Another 480m² would be occupied by terraces and a swimming pool resulting in a total footprint of 1,050m² with an additional floor.

The Marsaxlokk Bay Local Plan had planned to designate the area as the Delimara National Park where priority would be given to conservation, protection and improvement of the natural heritage.

Building up the area would go against efforts to protect the site and safeguard its natural and cultural heritage. The Delimara Peninsula hosted two fortresses - tas-Silġ and ta’ Delimara and two batteries - Wolseley and St Paul’s – all of which were in a dilapidated state.

The NGOs said the government should seek to restore such historical sites and put them to good. It should also put into action the plan to declare the peninsula a park, as this had been on hold for decades.

The hotel development would increase human activity from hotel guests and beach facility users in the area leading to disturbance and damage to habitats and wildlife if sufficient mitigation and management measures remain absent, as was currently the case.

Further environmental concerns that were not adequately addressed in the Environmental Impact Assessment were increased traffic causing significant additional air pollution to the area, dust emission and noise impact.

The NGOs also expressed concerned that the public using the area to swim would not have access to adequate parking. Facilities for parking bicycles also seemed to have been forgotten and such facilities should be extended for public use.

The Environment & Resources Authority has insisted on the downscaling of the development as would be necessary to protect the rural character of the surrounding coastal area.

Its recommendation had, however, fallen on deaf ears, with the PA case officer ignoring the legitimate concerns raised and instead recommending the development for approval, they said.

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