Eleven NGOs have written to MPs in the second district, the minister of transport and the minister responsible for culture, reiterating their opposition to plans by the American University of Malta to extend its footprint in Senglea.
"We ask for your direct, immediate and public support to stop this proposed development, which is to the detriment of the wellbeing of the Cottonera community, and a threat to an invaluable part of Malta’s heritage," the NGOs said.
They said that their objections to the AUM development planning application are: a loss of open public spaces in a locality which is already very densely built; the loss of built heritage and heritage views, and aesthetic considerations, due to proposed designs and building heights which are not in keeping with Urban Conservation Area policies.
They said they are also concerned about drainage capacity issues, the psychological ramifications of over-development and lack of open spaces, a lack of clarity regarding the access to the foreshore and lack of parking.
"As highlighted by Minister for Education Evarist Bartolo, the AUM is struggling to reach its student number goals. Furthermore, the university's credentials have yet to be clarified and the much-vaunted positive multiplier effects in the local communities are, at best, highly debatable," the NGOs said.
They also observed that in the recent past, ministers had expressed their concern over the fact that applications do not conform to planning policies.
"This is the case here, which is why we are requesting the same treatment."
The appeal was signed by Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura, Forum Komunità Bormliża,
Din L-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Futur Ambjent Wiehed, International Tree Foundation [Malta], Moviment Graffitti,
The Archaeological Society Malta, The Ramblers' Association of Malta
and Żminijietna - Voice of the Left