Thursday, May 16, 2013
Appeals tribunal turns Hondoq applicants appeal on amended plans
Published on MaltaToday on Thursday 2nd May, 2013.
The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) today upheld a decision by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, to refuse an appeal by Gozo Prestige for the on the processing of the planning application for the Hondoq ir-Rummien project.
The appeal, which was made by the applicant in December 2011, related to a letter the applicant received from the directorate informing them that their newly submitted plans for the Hondoq project - submitted without an initially-proposed marina but including only a hotel and adjacent luxury apartments - constituted a material change and altered the nature of the existing application.
The changes merited that a new application is submitted for MEPA's consideration, which Gozo Prestige disagreed with.
MEPA also said that the processing of the existing application had been nearly finalised, with the environment impact assessment report having already been published.
In its appeal, MEPA said that Gozo Prestige could not appeal at this stage from correspondence from the authority to the applicant, and could only appeal after a final decision by the MEPA Board. This was upheld by the Tribunal.
To view the comments, go to http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/en/newsdetails/news/national/Appeals-tribunal-turns-Hondoq-applicants-appeal-on-amended-plans-20130502
THE HONDOQ PROJECT
Published on the Malta Independent on Tuesday 30th April 2013 by Jane Carr.
Further to recent reports concerning Hondoq ir-Rummien, here are some quotes. Let’s hope that Mepa takes heed of their own opinions, and those of so many others, and confirm their opposition to the Hondoq project in the 2 May appeal.
- Directorate of Environment Protection (Mepa) “having reviewed and assessed the information for this development proposal, considers the development proposal as objectionable, on various accounts…. Accordingly, a refusal of the proposal is recommended.”
- Natural Heritage Panel (Mepa) “is of the opinion that the negative impacts of the project on the natural environment outweigh the positive aspects. The Panel is therefore of the opinion that the proposed development cannot be recommended for approval.”
- Transport Malta “objects to the proposed development in view that it would be increasing traffic volumes to unacceptable levels in the centre of the village of Qala.”
- Malta Tourism Policy states: “Long-term sustainable tourism cannot and should not destroy the assets that compose the tourism offer and which attracts tourists to Malta and Gozo in the first place. It is in our interest to safeguard the natural, marine and human environment and not to allow speculation.”
- Malta’s Tourism Authority “conditioned the developers that if the project is not developed as proposed in principle, i.e. in its totality, the MTA reserves the right to reconsider its endorsement with regards to the development of the proposed hotel.”
- Church Commission “is of the opinion that the project as proposed at Hondoq is not a sustainable one.”
- The NGO’s “are against any sort of development at Hondoq”, 85% of Qala residents voted against the project and over 4400 people signed a petition against it.
- In the EIA, Mepa commented ““We are all aware that several hotels have recently been demolished to make way for apartments or re-classified as apartment blocks, an indication that there are sufficient hotels available. At present there are several thousand empty apartments on this island. This means that another hotel and more apartments are really not sustainable or necessary.”
And the developer’s themselves stated:-
· “It is pertinent to point out that the project being considered is quite unique – it is a marina led type of development.”
· “It is evident that current demand for five-star hotel properties in Gozo is weak.”
· “The hotel will be successful and sustainable if it forms part of a much larger complex which will attract interest by potential patrons to reside at the hotel. The marina development could act as such an attraction.”
The hotel is not viable without the marina. That leaves apartments. That spells speculation.
Mepa, please act on the majority opinion, which is against the project - as are the recommendations from your own departments.
To view the comments, go to http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2013-04-30/letters/the-hondoq-project-1492287488/