A new planning application is proposing the construction of two-horse stables as well as a tack room/food store in a rural parcel of land in Marsascala outside the development zone.

The applicant, Hussein Suleyman, is also seeking to build a cesspit and a water reservoir as well as reconstruct parts of the existing boundary wall on the site, which lies along Triq il-Blajjiet, an uphill area characterised by agricultural land.

The application, PA/00454/22, has raised concern among a number of objectors, who hold that the proposed building would begin to formalise agricultural land as well as the fact that there already seem to be alleged illegalities on the same site.

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage (SCH), which has opposed the application in its present form, noted that the photo surveys indicate that there are structures on site for which no valid planning permits could be found.

“The Superintendence is in favour of the removal of any illegalities on site,” it said in its representation.

'Insensitive' uptake of rural land

While the SCH said it was favourable to the appropriate reconstruction of rubble walls, it expressed further concern at the “insensitive” uptake of rural land.

“The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage notes with some concern that the proposal entails the take-up of land which is insensitive to the rural and cultural landscape Outside Development Zone and constitutes an intensification of development,” it said.

“This would ultimately be a precedent for other proposals, impacting cultural landscape.”

In an objection filed by architect Robert Musumeci on behalf of a resident, the representation holds there are several illegalities on the site, including the use of the site as a residence and the levelling of soil with other materials.

This would ultimately be a precedent for other proposals, impacting cultural landscape

“As it is observed that no request to sanction these illegalities is being made in this application, it should be refused a priori,” it said.

'It will lead to further land takeup'

The Marsascala local council has also objected to the proposed stables, citing the negative visual impact these would leave in the area and also taking into consideration the fact that it is outside the development zone.

“The council feels that this would set a massive precedent in the area if this application is approved.”

In its objection, NGO Din l-Art Ħelwa noted that if granted permission, the stables would run counter to planning policy and intensify development in a rural area.

Din l-Art Ħelwa objects to the further take-up and formalisation of ODZ land through requests that can neither be deemed necessary nor justified and which stand to threaten the integrity of the rural environment,” it said.

“The proposed construction of two stables is considered objectionable as it will lead to further land take-up and intensification of uses in rural areas.”

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us