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MALTATODY 20 March 2022

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13 NEWS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 20 MARCH 2022 KANDIDAT GĦATTIELET U LĦAMES DISTRETT 2180 2000 Dr Owen Bonnici MINISTRU Ħal Għaxaq Marsaskala Marsaxlokk Iż-Żejtun 3 DISTRETT Birżebbuġa Ħal Farruġ L-Imqabba Ħal Kirkop Il-Qrendi Ħal Safi Iż-Żurrieq 5 DISTRETT underground car park for 134 vehicles. Warehouses will be retained on the first floor. Catacombs and cart ruts found on site Archaeological excavations in the area after the issuance of the warehouses permit un- earthed a catacomb with three chambers, four tombs – some of which consist of double chambers – and a pair of cart- ruts, apart from ancient quar- ries, rock-cut features and ag- ricultural trenches. The Malta Archaeological Society had objected to the supermarket. While recognis- ing changes to plans following the discovery of these remains, objectors insisted that the site must be safeguarded and not disturbed by further works. But the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage still gave its consent to the development, noting that plans were in line with its recommendations to "ensure the protection and preservation of the archaeolog- ical features located within the site". Shopping mall no, supermarket yes The developers had already proposed a retail complex back in 2018, but the proposal was dropped after the PA's plan- ning directorate pointed out that the area had been zoned for industrial development where retail shops were not ac- ceptable. Instead the PA approved the reconstruction of a two-storey existing warehouse complex with underlying garage. The owners protested that the nearby Lidl supermarket had been permitted, despite the designation of the area as industrial. In reply, the PA directorate noted that while retail outlets are not acceptable in industrial sites, supermarkets are consid- ered an "acceptable introduc- tion in industrial areas" – this despite a PA policy that su- permarkets should be located at the edge of town centres to minimise car use. Although outside develop- ment zones, the area is a so- called 'area of containment' where only industrial develop- ment is normally allowed. Ar- eas of containment are meant to create a buffer zone between urban centres and the ODZ. Mosta council had objected In 2020 Mosta mayor Romilda Zarb called on the PA to turn down this application, saying the Lidl Supermarket should not be used as a precedent, "as the present amenity is clearly catering for a significant and barely manageable catchment." The mayor argued that the ex- isting industrial commitment should not pave the way for a commercial "upgrade" that increases infrastructural pres- sures in close proximity to an Area of Ecological Importance. Since the site itself is desig- nated as a Protected Area of Hydrological Importance, "ex- cavations or any development which further stresses existing services and ground conditions is not recommended." Infrastructure Malta was re- cently issued with a permit to upgrade the roundabout junction linking Triq id-Difiża Ċivili to Triq il-Kostituzzjoni to include bypass lanes. Traf- fic impact studies confirm that extra traffic created by the su- permarket will be "absorbed" thanks to these works traffic created by the supermarket will be absorbed by the road infra- structure. Peprina Ltd's development, owned by Christian James Gatt and Nathalie Gatt, is being recommended for approval by the Planning Authority's case officer with a decision by the PA's planning commission scheduled for Wednesday – just three days before the general election

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