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MALTATODAY 13 March 2022

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12 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 13 MARCH 2022 NEWS St George's Bay alleyway's €133,000 price tag JAMES DEBONO A Lands Authority call for ten- ders has put up for sale a public alleyway at St George's Bay lead- ing into the Ħarq Ħamiem val- ley, starting at €133,846. The wording for the call for tender does not exclude con- struction of a "5.5m tunnel" above or beneath it, raising con- cerns on the price tag for land that could be turned into a tun- nel with overhead construction. The land is adjacent to the Vil- la Rosa area that is scheduled for high-rise development. Bidders have till 24 March, two days before the country goes to the polls, to present their offer. The Lands Authority has not replied to questions from Mal- taToday on how valuation was carried out, and the public pur- pose behind the sale of the alley. The neighbouring Moynihan House and Dolphin House will soon make way for commercial development, running alongside new plans for a 34-storey tow- er near Bay street, and another 27-storey tower in the middle of the 50,000sq.m Villa Rosa site. The project is a mix of hotels, serviced apartments, offices, rec- reational facilities, shops, bars, restaurants and a multi-purpose hall. While a considerable part of the site is designated as a public open space, the Environment and Resources Authority has ex- pressed concern at the "signifi- cant" intensification of develop- ment proposed on site. The public open space will be located between the proposed buildings and the coastal prome- nade, but intensive development will be immediately bordering the sensitive valley area. The ERA expressed concern that excavations are proposed well within the established buffer zone of Ħarq Ħammiem cave, with additional excavations to the west of Moynihan House bringing interventions closer towards the area of the upper chamber of the underlying cave system. In view of this the ERA has de- creed that an Environment Im- pact Assessment is necessary be- fore plans for the development are evaluated.

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