A residential project in rural Nadur has been approved by the Planning Authority after revised plans saw the project being scaled down from its original size.

The plans for PA/00085/21 – for a site that was previously an agricultural field in Triq il-Qortin – were originally for the construction of 71 apartments, 74 garages and a communal pool.

The approved project is for 51 units – 40 apartments and 11 penthouses – over four floors, as well as 61 parking spaces. The communal pool was ditched.

Residents who spoke to Times of Malta when the application was first filed raised concerns about the fact that a portion of the land to be developed was still being used for agricultural purposes.

They also noted that the road was not properly connected to the sewer system and that overflow caused the fields to flood and created a lot of damage.

Videos sent to Times of Malta in February 2021 showed the extent of the flooding problem, as sewers overflowed into the streets and poured into the rural landscape in the direction of both the Daħlet Qorrot valley and San Blas.

Activist group Moviment Graffitti had opposed the application, saying it was “out of proportion” with the surrounding buildings and, if approved, the building would lead to an “overnight transformation of a quiet countryside road”.

Last year, film-maker Chelsea Muscat created a short video about how overdevelopment had ruined Malta’s natural beauty and that Gozo’s was next on the chopping block, encouraging the public to object to the project.

The application was suspended for and the PA’s case officer subsequently recommended the revised plans for approval in November.

The application was approved by the Planning Commission last Friday.

In a statement, the PA said that the project had been “considerably downsized in scale and massing”.

“The project’s final set of drawings clearly show that its proportion and design are now more harmonious with its surroundings,” the statement read.

“The commission noted that the concerns it raised at the previous sitting pertaining to the height of the project have been well-addressed. While a number of receded floors have been introduced to create a better terracing effect, the part facing the ODZ has been reduced to only two floors.

“Despite the fact that a year ago the project was in line with the area policies, the architect still adhered to its recommendations and scale down the sides of the building to bring the building in line with the terracing fields while respecting the area’s topography.”

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