An excavator has been digging trenches and workmen laying new walls at a large field in an Area of High Landscape Value in Delimara over the past week. The walls, which are being built of mostly globigerina blocks salvaged from house demolitions, appear to be subdividing the field into smaller plots.
Last June, the Planning Authority rejected an application filed by two individuals to demolish and reconstruct walls, and open two access gates, in the same field.
The case officer had argued that “the opening of two gates within a land parcel of less than one tumolo shall create a precedent for the fragmentation of the land parcel and such development is not visually compatible within [sic] the site context.”
The Planning Commission additionally cited policies against fragmentation of agricultural land in the meeting when the application was refused.
The field is situated around 200 metres from the white coastal cliffs of Il-Hofra, one of Malta’s top scenic spots.
The works now being carried out in the field appear similar to the works that the Planning Authority refused to approve.
Plots within the field were sold by a property agent last year. The prices the property agent was seeking for the plots amounted to hundreds of thousands of euros.
Agricultural land throughout Malta is being fragmented into small plots that are being snapped up by people for rural recreation: to grow some crops and ornamental plants or trees, and then also use the fields for rural outings or picnics.
Last Tuesday this website published an investigation into a nearby 9,000-square-metre tract of land that property companies divided into smaller plots, which they then sold for hundreds of thousands of euros. In that case, a dirt running for 315 metres was constructed illegally to provide vehicular access to the various plots. The Planning Authority eventually rejected an application to sanction the dirt road, and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage objected to the road in the “archaeologically and culturally sensitive location.”
The government last Tuesday launched a proposed reform of the agricultural sector for consultation, with the Agriculture Minister saying that the government wants to support “genuine farmers.”
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