Residents concerned about application of Binġemma in ODZ Category 3 regulations

Residents have raised concerns over a development request to rebuild a farmhouse in an ODZ Category 3 settlement in the picturesque hamlet of Binġemma, within the limits of Rabat.

The proposed development plans to transform and rebuild the existing category 3 farmhouse, adding on various basements, an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor swimming pool.

“Sadden to see one of the few remaining rural areas in Malta falling into disrepair. I lived there when I was younger. It is a beautiful hamlet on the outskirts of Rabat. If this development gets the green light, others will follow in the area,” they told Lovin Malta.

“It’s a shame because it will definitely turn into what I call ‘Burdell’! Like a ‘mini-hotel’ or a farm for rent!” laments the resident.

“Everyone is talking about the environment, but we are seeing little or no action,” they said.

The development application calls for demolishing an existing residence and rebuilding it, following the original built footprint, into a Category 3 facility. It includes the excavation of 2 floors of the basement with the basement – 1 used as storage, cinema, indoor pool and spa area while basement -2 is used as a garage for private cars.

The application also includes the construction of an outdoor swimming pool and an outdoor kitchen on the ground floor.

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) also deemed the application objectionable from an environmental point of view.

“In comparison between the existing and proposed plans (Docs.13a & 14a), it is noted that the proposed development will extend considerably from that currently existing on the site, noting the proposed extension of the passage and the construction of ‘a swimming pool with a large terrace area and an outdoor kitchen with accessories,’ he said.

“These interventions will result in significant occupation of undeveloped rural land, formalization of the site and proliferation of development within this ODZ area. Furthermore, the proposed modern finish of the dwelling (Docs.1l-m), is not considered compatible with the rural characteristics of the area.

“In light of the above, this development request is environmentally reprehensible.”

A previous similar request dating from 2000 for an extension of existing housing was also refused by the Planning Authority.

Representations against the license are accepted until Friday, March 18.

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