Relocation of Multigas Ltd.: A critical review

Date : 2001
Client : Kirkop Local Council

A Third Party Planning Appeal was filed by Kirkop Local Council vis-à-vis planning permission to relocate Multigas Ltd. facilities from Ħamrun to Triq l-Industrija, Kirkop, Malta. During the course of the appeal, the Local Council requested advice on this matter, which advice led to the final decision being put in abeyance, the case having been referred to the Constitutional Court.

The building in Ħamrun was originally erected as a brewery in the early part of the twentieth century. As the brewery developed, and following a merger, it was transferred to a new large site at Mrieħel; the building in Ħamrun was adapted and modified to accommodate Multigas Ltd. Due to site constraints, both physical and due to the immediate proximity of the residential area, the company could not further expand and upgrade this manufacturing capacity to meet current market demands. Thus an alternative site, away from residential units and large enough to accommodate the projected design of the plant, was sought.

The site at Kirkop was identified following a brief site selection exercise by the applicant. An Environmental Planning Statement was prepared and endorsed by the Planning Authority, the public authority vested with the powers to grant planning consent. The relocation from a highly dense urbanised zone to a less urbanized area was, planning wise, a positive shift. Yet the selected location was queried and the environmental impact assessment did not include an environmental audit of the impacts on the plant in Ħamrun.