Application has received over 500 objections in just a few days
Plans to build a drive-in cinema on agricultural land in Marsascala (PA/08833/20), outside the development zone are completely unjustifiable and should not be on the tables for consideration.
The application proposes the removal of soil from the land to make way for roughly 56 car spaces as well as an inflatable 16:8 metre screen, robbing Marsascala of some of its last precious remaining greenery.
In what has become a daily assault on rural and agricultural land, following a series of road-widening projects cutting across hectares of arable land and gobbling up the few remaining pieces of virgin land left on the island, more take-up of farmland for a private, commercial enterprise is totally unwarranted on every level. Such a massive footprint in ODZ land can never be justified, more so when considering that the site proposed for development also lies in close vicinity of the historic Torri Mamo and St. Gaetano Church. A drive-in cinema in close proximity to these two historic buildings would ruin their historic character and no doubt pose a threat to the preservation of their historic context.
A spokesperson for the group also raised concerns as to the suitability of such a project in the area, pointing out that it would lead to further environmental degradation, soil erosion and degradation, noise and light pollution, and pose a threat to the historic buildings in the area. Moreover, a drive-in cinema would attract a heavier flow of traffic, leading to an increase in fuel emissions and noise pollution, which would no doubt disturb the surrounding natural environment and habitats and completely change the rural character of the area.
The application has also sparked concerns that if approved it would set a precedent and lead to further commercial development of virgin land in the area. If a development permit is issued, there is a real possibility that the area will be gobbled up by future developments.
Moviment Graffitti also pointed out that if the project, which was most likely inspired by the present situation, fails to keep momentum once the pandemic is over, the damage done would be irreversible because there’s no bringing back the soil and farmland sacrificed for a seemingly useless enterprise. Such a development can easily be accommodated in other sites that are more suitable and that have already been commissioned for development.
The people’s anger is rightly justified. More take-up of virgin land in close vicinity to historic buildings for a drive-in cinema is totally unwarranted. Our country has already suffered enough loss of agricultural land at the hands of megalomaniac developers and arrogant government agencies. which continue to run roughshod over the public’s right to enjoyment of the natural environment and a good quality of life.
Moviment Graffitti urges the Planning Authority to listen to the anger of the people and do its job properly.