A controversial application for the building of a new petrol station outside a development zone near Mgarr was approved by the Mepa board this morning, despite objections from environment NGOs.

The petrol station will replace the one at Mgarr Square opposite the church. The new petrol station will be built on Mgarr Road, Zebbiegh. The owner has also promised to close down a scrap yard close to the existing petrol station and restore the site to agricultural use. The scrap yard had been the subject of Mepa enforcement notices.

The NGOs had argued that the relocation of the petrol station from the heart of the village would relieve one area of an eyesore and health hazard, and inflict it on an outside development zone.

The Case Officer had recommended approval of the application, which provided for  a service station and an adjoining showroom and workshop, a car wash, a jet wash and a parking space built over 2,406 square metres of agricultural land.

The Mepa board members voted 6-4 in favour of the development, with chairman Austin Walker saying that it was not ideal that petrol stations were built outside development zones, but all factors had to be considered, including an outline permit granted in 2006.

Many Mgarr residents turned up for the meeting, led by the Mayor, and spoke in favour of the relocation, insisting the main square was not the proper place for the petrol station.

Earlier, the Mepa board approved plans for the building of an air traffic control radar tower off the airport runway, near Hal Far.

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