Gudja residents have come out against a new residential parking scheme intended to ease their parking problems, saying it will only create new ones.

With Gudja conveniently close to the airport, residents have for years complained that travellers were parking their vehicles in the town for days while they are abroad. 

So from this month, non-Gudja residents are prohibited from parking on 14 of the town’s streets outside the hours of 7am to 8pm. Otherwise, parking on those streets is reserved for residents.

Residents were provided with a permit card to affix to their car by the local council. Any unauthorised vehicles will be towed.

However, the local council has received a backlash from unhappy residents, who say the scheme was not the right solution and that they and businesses will be badly hit. 

We can’t afford to close off our town this way

The council has since informed residents it will include their family members in the scheme but details are still unclear.

“I do not live in one of the 14 streets, but now I will be worse off because non-residents will be looking for parking spaces in my road to avoid the curfew,” one resident told Times of Malta

She said her elderly parents will now struggle to find a place to park on her road and if they parked on one of the 14 designated streets, they would have to leave by 8pm. 

“This scheme is a flop. It’s making us prisoners in our town,” she said.

Gudja celebrates three feasts in summer so the situation will only get worse, she said.

The scheme will also affect businesses, she added – with the UEFA European football competition around the corner, bars may see a dip in customers due to the 8pm curfew. 

Another resident said it would now be difficult to invite friends over for the festa or for Christmas: “We can’t afford to close off our town this way.”

One elderly resident said the council had “rushed” this decision, leading to this “ridiculous” situation. 

He suggested it would have been better to prohibit parking for non-residents for over 24 hours.

PN MP and Gudja resident Mark Anthony Sammut said on Facebook that the scheme would hinder his family from having friends or relatives over in the evening, unless they caught a cab or parked on the other side of town. 

“I cannot host friends, I cannot have my in-laws visiting, I cannot have a constituent come to meet me in the evening,” the former local councillor told Times of Malta

He also complained about the bureaucratic process of applying for a renewable pass, adding that it gives LESA officers access to each vehicle owner’s details.

“My wife is required to renew her pass annually because the address on her vehicle’s log book shows her parents’ address, which is where she lived when she bought the car 10 years ago. Since when is the address on your log book any indication of where you live?”

In 2018, the council had unanimously approved a by-law banning parking beyond 24 hours for non-residents, but Sammut and PN councillor Stefan Caruana said Labour councillors then changed their mind. 

Letter residents received to apply for parking permits for their familiesLetter residents received to apply for parking permits for their families

Following residents’ complaints, the local council has sent a letter to residents of the 14 streets informing them that their family members can apply for parking permits. Yet, details were vague on who will be applicable.

Residents were asked to bring a copy of their family members’ ID card and log book to the local council.

“How will this work? Who can apply? Can cousins apply, but not second cousins,” Sammut asked, criticising the council’s lack of consultation.

Questions were sent to the PL mayor Marija Sara Vella Gafà.


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