The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage has requested a report on the effect a proposed development in Mtarfa could have on cart ruts just a few metres away. 

Cart ruts are a complex network of tracks gouged in the rock, some of which have perplexed historians about their origin.

The Planning Appeals Board postponed hearing the appeal until September following the intervention of the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage.

Joseph Magro Conti informed the board he had asked for a report to be drawn up on the possible effects the proposed development could have on the cart ruts in the vicinity.

“We have asked for an evaluation of the proposal because the cart ruts are just four to five metres away,” Mr Magro Conti told the board. He explained that this report is basically an archaeological investigation to determine whether the proposed development will have any effect on the cart ruts. 

The appeal is over the PA’s refusal to grant permission for a large development of 11 terraced houses each having a pool at roof level and an underlying complex of 11 garages at basement level. The project covered by PA9316/17 was to be spread over two floors.

The development is a plot of land that abuts Triq Joseph S. Calleja, Triq ir-Razzett l-Ahmar, Triq Mikiel Fsadni and Triq Tal-Palma. 

The project was refused last October, because it includes extensive rock-cutting within an archaeologically sensitive area for which clearance from the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage had not been obtained. 

Through his lawyers applicant Ray Camilleri, appealed the decision claiming that his architect was in hospital at the time his application was being heard and that the PA went ahead with the hearing despite knowing he was waiting for the conclusions of an archaeological report.

The case officer noted that the hearing was held because six months had elapsed since the architect asked for the suspension of the application. 

She said the project could not be favourably considered since it had not yet been ascertained that it would not pose a threat to the site’s archaeological sensitivity. The applicant appealed and during the last sitting in June, Mr Magro Conti said he was not able to comment on the application until he had the archaeological report. He asked for more time to be able to receive the report and then comment on its findings. 

He was given until the end of August, with the next appeal sitting fixed for September.

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