CRUNCH TIME FOR WIED GHOMOR

The thirteenth day of the month may prove unlucky for the besieged Wied Ghomor. On the 13th February the last hearing of a refusal against development application will be heard by Environment and Planning Review Tribunal. After that the Tribunal will decide whether or not to overturn the Planning Commission’s original decision for the refusal of a massive 100 unit development, a catering establishment and the creation of a road from San Gwann through the valley into Victoria Gardens.

The site of the proposed development lies partly in a disused quarry which is slowly being reclaimed by nature and partly in Wied Ghomor’s protected green area. The site is completely surrounded by terraced fields and rubble walls, providing a rare unobstructed agricultural landscape in the built-up areas of San Gwann, St Julians and Swieqi .

As the only open green space in this urbanized region, Wied Ghomor is being regularly targeted by developers with numerous applications for development being sought in spite of its protected status. The planning policies concerning Wied Ghomor specifically call for the regeneration of its degraded areas and state that any “development or activity that would jeopardise the protected status or the conservation of the valley will not be permitted”. Environment Minister Jose Herrera had even applied for the designation of Wied Ghomor as a public domain zone – to be preserved for posterity and for future generations.

ENGOs, residents as well as the Local Councils of Swieqi, San Gwann and St Julians had welcomed the original refusal which had given hope of some respite from the development blitz in our remaining open spaces.

FAA calls on the authorities  to uphold the Planning Authority’s original decision and  to take heed of the policies calling for Wied Ghomor’s protection to ensure that this last remaining green lung is not compromised beyond hope.

 

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