Din l-Art Helwa Press Release – 31 July 2008

This afternoon Din l-Art Helwa presented a series of suggestions to the Prime Minister as part of the ongoing discussions on the reform of Mepa. Din l-Art Helwa is pleased that the Prime Minister has taken on the reform of Mepa and is giving it the importance it deserves.

Whilst accepting that Mepa is in need of structural reform, Din l-Art Helwa believes that the critical issue at this time is a lack of good governance. There have been far too many applications approved which go against Mepa’s own policies and good practice, such as the Mistra Village redevelopment, the Mistra bay discotheque, and the Safi supermarket. The structural reform of Mepa is not necessary to address these contentious decisions, as they could have been avoided through good governance within the existing structure.

Din l-Art Helwa believes that there is a lack of strategic vision on planning issues, especially with respect to major projects such as tall buildings, where the impact is at a national level. Until a clear national strategy for tall buildings is formulated, Din l-Art Helwa strongly recommends a moratorium on applications for tall buildings.

The ill-advised policy which allowed building heights to be increased to 3 floors in many areas must also be urgently reviewed, as this has created havoc throughout our urban areas with the haphazard and widespread demolition and redevelopment of properties.

The quantity and quality of current development does not promote sustainability, and instead jeopardizes the value of both our natural and built heritage. If planning is to be taken seriously then the whole culture within the planning process needs to change. We must decide what we want to save and protect and then ensure that this is done.