I have heard from reliable sources that government through MEPA is considering doing away with all seven Local Plans and substituting them with just three.
The Local Plans currently in effect are the following : Marsaxlokk Bay (1995), Grand Harbour (2002), North West (2006), Central Malta (2006), North Harbour (2006), South Malta (2006), Gozo and Comino (2006).
The Structure Plan had envisaged the preparation of 24 Local Plans as well as Plans covering Rural Conservation Areas.
The Local Plans mentioned in the Structure Plan were the following :
2. The Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua
3. Sliema, Gzira, and Ta’ Xbiex
4. St. Julians, San Gwann, and Pembroke
5. Msida, Pieta, and Gwardamangia
6. Marsa, Qormi, Hamrun, and Santa Venera
7. Birkirkara and the Three Villages of Lija, Balzan, and Attard
8. Paola, Tarxien, and Santa Lucia
9. Kalkara, Rinella, and Xghajra
10. Zabbar and Fgura
11. Luqa, Gudja, Ghaxaq, Mqabba, Kirkop, and Qrendi
12. Marsaxlokk Bay and its vicinity including Marsaxlokk and Birzebbugia
13. Zejtun, Marsascala, and St. Thomas Bay
14. Zurrieq and Safi
15. Siggiewi and Zebbug
16. Rabat, Mdina, and Dingli
17. Mosta, Naxxar, Gharghur, and Burmarrad
18. St. Paul’s Bay, Bugibba, Qawra, and Mellieha
19. Victoria and Fontana
20. Qala, Ghajnsielem, and Mgarr
21. Xaghra and Nadur
22. Xewkija and Sannat
23. Kercem, San Lawrenz, Munxar, and Xlendi
24. Gharb, Ghasri, Zebbug, and Marsalforn
It is clear that the proposal in the Structure Plan, which was not adhered to, intended the micro-managing of development through having the proposed Local Plans focusing on a relatively small area. The resulting policies would have been site specific and not of a general nature. Unfortunately this was not done as the only Local Plan which covers a small area is that related to Marsaxlokk Bay.
It defeats the purpose for which Local Plans are intended if they cover a large area. By their very nature Local Plans are intended to cover a small area and consequently to address the potential development in such areas through appropriate policies which may need to be and generally are specific to the area. The policies adopted for one area are not necessarily applicable to another. Hence the need for “local” plans
The revision of the Local Plans is the ideal opportunity to get things done right.
But will they?