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I have been investigating developments in the buffer zone of Ggantija Temples for about a year and a half. My reporting and activism has intensified in the past weeks as higher buildings and blocks of flats have started to be approved in the buffer zone. These will eventually mar quintessential skyline around Ggantija Temples and Ta Kola Windmill, and damage the integrity and authenticity of the temples and Ta Kola Windmill.

I have watched in aghast as the first permit was granted for a building that juts above the streetscape six months ago. That sets a precedent in a large area of four blocks within the buffer zone that has until now survived as an enclave of two-storey townhouses.

My journalistic investigations found that the submissions featured a fraudulent “streetscape elevation” – click here to read an investigative article about this case.

The Planning Development Act specifies that development permission can be revoked “in cases of fraud,” and it defines fraud as “the submission to the Planning Board of any information, declaration or plan on the basis of which the Planning Board has approved a development permission, where such information, declaration or plan is false.”

I also live in the area, but I do not stand to gain or lose anything at a personal level if this development goes ahead or not – I do not live in the same street. Well, I would get a more pleasant area, but this is not just my area, this is the buffer zone of Ggantija Temples – and that is everyone’s concern because Ggantija is a World Heritage Site, and hence holds Outstanding Universal Value.

So instead of asking for donations for my work on the Ggantija Streetscapes reporting series, this time I am collaborating with the NGO Moviment Graffitti in the collection of donations to fund legal proceedings to get the permit revoked.

A lawyer, Joseph Mizzi, has offered to take on this case pro bono (for free), but the administrative and court fees could amount to around €2,000 if the case goes through all stages (the Planning Board, planning tribunal and Court of Appeal), and if we lose and would have to pay court-imposed costs.

If the case is won in the first or second stage, then any remaining funds would be used for other legal actions against damaging development in the buffer zone of Ggantija Temples. If no suitable legal actions in the buffer zone can be identified, then any remained funds would be used for legal action or activism on damaging development elsewhere.

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From Victor Borg

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