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Last Friday the Local Council of Xaghra on the island of Gozo, Malta sealed a twinning agreement with the Councils of Mergo in Italy and Chevaigné in France. It’s a nice place, Xaghra, it’s a shame a comparable British town with a similar obligation to protect a nearby ancient site hasn’t twinned up with them. Oswestry for instance…

Alas, that could never be, as there seems to be a bit of a cultural gulf between the two places. At Xaghra you see, two brand new two-storey terraced houses are being proposed in the buffer zone of the Xaghra Stone Circle, which forms part of the Ggantija complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site and there’s an awful stink being kicked up about it. (Yes, you read it right, two!)

Heritage Malta (a sort of Maltese English Heritage) has objected to the development saying that any development in this buffer zone would not only endanger the world heritage status of the Ggantija temples but of all six Megalithic sites in Malta and Gozo. So naturally a town which seems likely to be about to reject two new houses in a buffer zone is going to be less than keen to twin with a town where Government planning rules enable someone to try their luck with an application to build 188 right next to a world famous hill fort – with a sporting chance of getting at least some of them approved!


November 2013

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