Rabat council objects to proposed developments in Għeriexem Valley

PA orthophotos showing the two sites slated for development. Mtarfa lies just north, while Rabat is further south.

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Rabat local council has objected to two proposed developments outside the development zone in the Għeriexem Valley, expressing concern that they would create a precedent.

The two applications were filed last June, and concern two sites a short distance from each other on Rabat’s border with Mtarfa.

According to the description provided by the applicant, PA4318/20 concerns the demolition of an existing farmhouse and its reconstruction, with the proposal also involving the construction of a swimming pool,

But the local council insisted that the project was a non-starter, as a permit for a residence in ODZ could only be approved when it is proven that the site was already being used a residence. Though the site is named as “St Paul’s Farmhouse,” the council insisted that proof of residence could not be provided since the building is not connected to any infrastructural service.

The other application, PA5289/20, proposes the construction of horse shelters and ancillary facilities just off the Mtarfa bypass, a little to the west of the other site. But the council emphasised that such shelters could only be approved if they are at least 100m away from a spring and from other buildings, a condition which is not met in the site.

Additionally, the council argued, both applications did not provide for the right to use common passageways.

But the objection to the proposed developments also appeared to be on a point of principle, with the council highlighting that the valley was of cultural and rural importance. Additionally, it was in the vicinity of Mdina, and thus also had archaeological value.

The council added that the valley was an important buffer zone between Rabat and Mtarfa, and warned that if the development permits in question were granted, they could pave the way for further construction in the valley.

So far, no recommendation to approve or grant a permit has yet been made by the case officers assigned. The processing of PA4318/20 is currently suspended at the request of the applicant’s architect, whereas the other application is awaiting recommendation.