A petition against plans to move a petrol station to a public garden has been launched by the Gżira local council.

The garden, known as Ġnien il-Kunsill tal-Ewropa, has been the subject of five legal battles initiated by the Gżira council, which is fighting to stop the Manoel Island service station being relocated. 

The petrol station, that has until now occupied a small area close to Manoel Island bridge, had been granted planning permission to move to the garden.

If the move goes ahead, the petrol station is set to triple in size and occupy over 900 square metres of the 20,000 square metre garden.

Plans for the petrol station include fuel pumps, a car wash, a tyre vulcaniser section, a radiator flushing service section, and a shop.

The Gżira council has appealed the decision and is encouraging the public to sign the petition.

The council has pointed out that three service stations are already offering such services, including a car wash, in a 500-metre stretch.

It stresses there is no need to sacrifice green open space for the service station.

If the move goes ahead, the petrol station is set to triple in size

Gżira and the surrounding localities of Sliema, Msida and Ta’ Xbiex are among the most densely populated areas of the island. Gżira mayor Conrad Borg Manché says he is determined to “fight tooth and nail” to save the garden.

Borg Manché, who was elected in 2015, has made safeguarding Manoel Island and the Gżira gardens a priority of his council.

He said that the garden once formed part of the grounds of a villa, with plans first drawn up in 1859.

The local council had commissioned a study that found prevailing winds would carry the petrol station’s fumes towards the gardens.

The mayor encouraged people to sign the petition adding “it will not change the world”, but the backing of the people will motivate and support the council who are working to safeguard the garden.

The petition can be signed on www.gziragardens.com or by visiting the Gżira council to fill in a form manually.

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