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Ensuring development is pleasing to the eye

By Daniela Farrugia Randon

Removing eyesores and illegal structures and improving traffic junctions and access to the sea are some of the suggestions put forward by the Building Industry Consultative Committee in their response document to the North West Local Plan.

BICC chairman, Robert Musumeci, who presented the document, also highlighted the need to ensure the plan was refined enough to ensure it would be functional.

Policy topics of BICC’s document include settlement, social and community facilities, education, commerce, industry, minerals and waste management, solid waste management, tourism, recreation, coastal facilities, transport, landscapes, conservation, hydrology and public utilities.

BICC also said it believed that the project should involve close relationships between the private and public sector. A suggestion for the early implementation of schemes and incentives should be put into place immediately so as to encourage private enterprise. It also said that for the implementation stage, it was important that the different stages of the projects were prioritised.

The Planning Authority was encouraged to publish the different studies it conducted on the plan, regarding commercial and industrial development. The need for a plan to include methods of energy conservation for buildings erected in the future was also highlighted. Mr Musumeci pointed out that in the coming weeks, three important documents would be submitted: Policy and Design Guidance 2000 and the impact on Industry- a year after its introduction; analysis of the mineral subject plan and analysis of specific policies and the way in which they were implemented.

George Pullicino, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for Home Affairs, who attended yesterday’s presentation, stressed that the government hopes to have its development plans for the centre and south of Malta, together with the brief for Gozo, out for public consultation by the end of the year.

"We are putting all our resources toward the local plans," the parliamentary secretary said. "There are seven plans in all, with four having being issued to date; Marsaxlokk, Grand Harbour, North Harbour, the North West plan. We are trying our utmost to have plans for Gozo , the centre and the south, out for public consultation by the end of this year."

Mr Pullicino highlighted the importance of public participation in the projects.

"The citizens should give us their opinion, not only of what they want removed in their neighbourhood but also of what they wish to have there," he said.

Mr Pullicino also said that the review of the project which is going to be published a year after its completion will be very useful, since it will mean that anything which goes wrong can be put right straight away and not years later.

He stressed that the aim for the plan is to use land that has already been developed. Agricultural land as well as farmers’ hamlets have policies, protecting them from development.

Highlights from BICC’s document:
• Dingli
New land uses restricted to dwellings, storage of agriculture implements and farmhouses, subject to various conditions. New dwellings can only replace existing housing except in the case of farmhouses for farmers.

• Mdina
The establishment of museums and exhibition halls will be permitted in the Magisterial Palace, Banca Guiratale, Cathedral Museum and warehouses in Triq L-Imhazen.

• Scrap yards
No new scrap yards in the open countryside will be permitted. The plan proposes that existing ‘bad neighbour’ scrapyards in residential areas be relocated and provides guidelines on the sitting of replacement facilities.

• St Paul’s Bay, Bugibba, Qawra
The plan seeks to improve public access to the foreshore and the use of the shore for swimming and bathing.

• Public access to the coast and foreshore
The plan indicates that no additional beach concessions or encroachments will be permitted.
Illegal encroachments and/or accretions to boat houses etc including paving, walling, slipways and canopies will be removed.

• Junction improvements
Access to Marfa Ridge (Triq il-Armier) and il-Batterija Ta’ Wied Musa,
New main access to Mellieha from Triq Louis Wettinger,
Main access to Ta’ Qali.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt