Virgin land in ODZ areas should remain untouched by development, Malta’s development lobby has said. 

In a brief statement issued on Thursday, the Malta Developers Association urged authorities to be “strict and consistent” when assessing development applications in sensitive rural areas.

Any projects to replace or change existing, legal buildings in Outside Development Zone land should not lead to an increase in the building volume that already exists, it said.

“This should apply strictly for sites that fall in Natura 2000 zones where no enlargement of footprint or of building volume should be allowed when redeveloping such sensitive sites,” the lobby group argued. 

The MDA did not single out any particular development in its statement, which, however, comes amidst objections to plans to redevelop the Comino Hotel.

Activists who have filed objections with the Planning Authority against those plans have accused the developer, Hili Ventures, of misleading the public by claiming that the project’s overall footprint will be smaller than the existing one. 

They claim that the proposed project will, in reality, significantly increase the built-up footprint and increase building density on the island, which is a Natura 2000 site in its entirety. 

Developers say those claims are based on outdated data and plans.

The Environment and Resources Authority gave the proposal the thumbs-up last September. Objectors have filed an appeal against that decision. 

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