San Lawrenz residents have stepped up their fight against a “monstrous” five-storey apartment block close to the village core with the filing of a judicial protest against the Planning Authority. 

The judicial protest, filed by resident and lawyer Alfred Grech against the PA and the members of the Planning Commission board, as well as the developer and architect, argues that the project would negatively impact his rights as a resident and violate planning policy, including the height limitation.  

“By giving the go-ahead for the proposed development, a ghetto situation will be created by congestion and overcrowding in Triq il-Wileġ, San Lawrenz,” Dr Grech said. 

An unprecedented eyesore and architectural monstrosity

“This is still a pristine area conserving the traditional terraced house style of building along both sides and has as yet no block of apartments. Building a five-storey development on one side of the street will create an architectural and visual imbalance.”

The development, he said, did not take into account the needs of the community and was instead “intended to line the pockets of unscrupulous developers who have no consideration for the serenity and well-being of the residents of the street”. 

San Lawrenz, he added, was already littered with empty houses and properties for sale, the prices of which were beyond the reach of ordinary residents. He questioned the need for more units “targeted for the rich and transient foreigner”, which he said were creating an inflationary bubble. 

The judicial protest also raises questions about the fact that the properties were already being advertised for sale, even before the close of public consultation on the planning application, and the fact that developer Joseph Portelli of J. Portelli Projects was advertising the development as his own, suggesting it was intended to change hands. 

Nearly all the residents of Triq il-Wileġ issued a statement last week opposing the development, which they said “would create an unprecedented eyesore and architectural monstrosity” in a traditional serene village street.

The San Lawrenz local council has also objected. 

Nevertheless, the PA case officer has recommended the application for approval, concluding that the proposal was in line with height limitation and design policies for the area. A decision is expected on January 29.

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