Fabian Demicoli

Objection to the fresh drawings proposed by the Naxxar LC

During a meeting held last year between the GRTU and the Local Council, GRTU was assured that there will be meetings between the two parties prior to fresh plans. To date GRTU received no invitations whatsoever for the said meetings only your correspondence informing about fresh drawings to which GRTU strongly objects.

 

After consulting its members GRTU informed MEPA that it is not in agreement with the fresh drawings  being presented by the Naxxar Local Council as they adversely affect the Business Operators, whose businesses will no longer remain viable as a result of the pedestrianisation and the loss of the already limited amount of parking spaces available in the area.

The objections raised in our previous correspondence still stand and apply notwithstanding the submission of fresh plans and drawings by the Local Council. The following are additional and supplementary grounds of objection:

Design does not take into account the commercial activities in the area

The businesses currently operating in the area depend for their survival on a flow of traffic (for suppliers and customers) and parking bays (already very scarce in the Naxxar village core). In addition to this, whereas generally embellishment projects are beneficial to the local community, the Application (together with the relative designs) will, if approved, be detrimental to the business community simply for the sake of aesthetics.

The Application also includes the removal of vehicular access in Toni Bajjada Square. This will result in the negative to the commercial activity in the area.

Indeed there are ways and means of reaching a compromise in any design (i.e. embellishment of the area whilst at the same time minimising the impact on the business community). Unfortunately the Application does not even attempt to strike any sort of balance. Just as an example the plans do not contemplate supply routes for commercial outlets. How can a retail business survive if suppliers of goods/materials do not have any access to it?  Furthermore, the removal of parking spaces means that customers/clients will seek to acquire goods/services elsewhere where it would be easier to park.

These problems are obvious and it is very unfortunate that the Local Council and its architects never approached the GRTU and the local business community at design stage to work around such obvious issues. In our view this is incorrect and grossly unfair especially since the GRTU and the business community got to know about the Application only when this was submitted to MEPA.

Dangerous and impractical flow of traffic

An obvious example of how the proposed traffic flows will have a negative effect and cause danger and congestion can be found in the proposed corner between Castro Street and Marquis Scicluna Street. Now one must also take into consideration the new public transport system with its new buses much larger than the previous buses, which makes it more difficult for the traffic to maneuver in such a restricted space.

If the Application is approved it will be next to impossible for a vehicle (even a small one) to make a right turning. The danger in this area is further highlighted by the fact that children attend catechism classes in Castro Street (which is already extremely narrow and without pavements).

In conclusion GRTU urged MEPS to see through the issue and take the necessary action as in our view the application will lead to several negative effects which should in no way be encouraged through the issuing of the said permit.

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