www.di-ve.com 4 April 2008, by Chris Galea
The Ramblers’ Association of Malta (RAM) has voiced its objections over the proposed high rise complex on Xemxija ridge on the site formerly occupied by the Mistra Village.
  The application filed by the developer proposes to build around 1,000 new apartments in four massive blocks, ranging from 6 to 16 storeys and reaching a maximum height of 55 metres.
RAM said that an impact assessment of the new skyline on rural landscapes has been found to be lacking, since the views assessed by the developer were taken from angles which made the construction look less imposing.
However, the NGO pointed out that at least two highly sensitive spots in terms of the visual experience of the environment would be negatively effected, namely the main road at the highest point of Selmun Hill and from the belvedere at Selmun.
“Both are favourite spots with local and foreign ramblers. The number of tourists that come for rambling holidays in Malta cannot be under-estimated and make up a substantial portion of tourist arrivals that sustain the local industry especially during the low season,” RAM said.
It went on to stress that no building higher than those allowed by the existing planning restrictions should be allowed.
“Allowing a permit to locate tall buildings on a high place such as the ridge will only serve to exaggerate the negative impact on the surrounding country and marine landscapes,” the Ramblers’ Association said.
The NGO further stated that the feeling of seclusion from urban development in the bay would be compromised by this development and appealed to MEPA “to listen to reason and refuse the latest monster to raise its head”.
On Wednesday, another environmental NGO — Din l-Art Helwa — had requested the MEPA Auditor to review the contents of the DPA report for the application, as it likewise pointed out that the proposed building heights go against the existing policies in the Local Plan.