Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar has urged the planning authority to refuse an ongoing application for a 9-story hotel on Milner Street.
On Saturday, residents of Sliema gathered in the street in question in support of eNGO and the local council of Sliema.
FAA Coordinator Astrid Vella pointed out that the request had been recommended for denial by the Palestinian Authority case officer since: “The proposed hotel is not among the permitted uses in residential areas and therefore goes contrary to the North Harbors Local Plan which limits uses to those consistent with residential areas”.
The NGO said the case officer also pointed out that the application exceeds the additional floors allowed for hotels and will create a prohibited blank party wall.
“The Planning Authority Commission still intends to approve it, despite the fact that just a few weeks ago the Planning Tribunal revoked a hotel permit because it would cause a “bad neighborhood”: noise, traffic and traffic jams. The PA Commission also dismissed Transport Malta’s very rare objection to lack of garage space and lack of street parking, cavalierly saying that the congestion created by tour buses and delivery vans would not have no impact on residents,” Vella said.
She referred to a number of “irregular” permits that have been issued recently, including the Fortina/Captain Morgan pontoon in Balluta and all the outrageous permits that are destroying the villages and landscapes of Gozita.
Blame not the AP employees but the officials, Vella said, and said, “A stench of corruption hangs over the AP.”
The press conference was addressed by Sliema local councilor Paul Radmilli, who insisted that lobbying must be phased out.
He explained how the various planning policies – Local Plans, the Strategic Environmental Plan and the Development and Design Guidelines have been rendered toothless by the “Flexibility Policy” which allows board members to ‘AP to cancel policies at will.
“This Milner Street affair is symptomatic of all that is wrong with the Planning Authority – if they are wrong in Sliema, they are wrong everywhere. The interpretation of this policy will be used across the island. Radmilli concluded.
The FAA also pointed out that high-rise buildings on narrow streets trap traffic emissions that contribute to asthma, heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia, “but politicians don’t do not care about the health and quality of life of the residents”.
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