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MALTATODAY 3 April 2022

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11 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 3 APRIL 2022 NEWS of at Authority plications as a means to 'by- pass' certain regulations gov- erned by the PA. The Planning Commission also approved a new supermarket 60m away from Mosta's Lidl, in an area which yielded archaeological remains and that will now be integrated in the supermar- ket's car park. A number of controversial applications, such as one to le- galise an illegal gate blocking access to the Blata tal-Melħ coastal cliffs in Baħrija, were postponed to 8 April. During the same period the PA's planning board – the or- gan that decides on major pro- jects – issued 12 permits while refusing six. The approvals included an eight-storey com- mercial development opposite the Marsa golf course by Tum Invest and Burmarrad Com- mercials. One of the contro- versial projects to be rejected was the development of a solar farm with 5,700 panels on ag- ricultural land at Mgarr. The decrease in permits awarded during the electoral campaign reflects the appoint- ment of new planning commis- sions upon the appointment of a new minister for both envi- ronment and planning. JAMES DEBONO A planning application has been pre- sented to add three new storeys to three characteristic town houses on Blanche Huber Street in Sliema, one of the town's last traditional streets where a uniform skyline is an integral part of the locality's urban conservation area. The row of townhouses opposite the proposed development was granted Grade 2 protection in 2018 but this pro- tection was not extended to cover the entire road. Although the façade of the buildings will be preserved, if approved the de- velopment will create blank party walls which will be visible from Triq Sir Adri- an Dingli, Triq Blanche Huber and Triq Melita. The latter two streets have so far remained intact and devoid of any large-scale developments or apartment blocks. Residents in the area fear that any approval of the proposal will encourage the further sprawl of apartment blocks already mushrooming on Triq Sir Adrian Ding- li further in- to the core of Sliema's well p r e s e r v e d streetscapes. The proposal will also cast a shadow onto neighbouring properties and their backyards and gardens. 55 residents have already submitted their objection to the proposal, describ- ing it as detrimental not just on the aes- thetics of the area but also to the com- munity which thrives in the locality, "where access to open space, sunlight and quiet streets is highly depended on". Blanche Huber street comprises a number of period townhouses, some of which designed by architect Gustavo V i n c e n t i . Such period townhouses so far stand rela- tively untouched and in good condition, and merit protection and safeguarding from insensitive development. The Planning Authority's advisory panel on design issues has already ex- pressed concern that the proposal will result in creation of blank party walls on both streets and has called for a re- vised proposal mitigating the visual im- pact on surroundings. Under threat: Sliema townhouses opposite scheduled houses

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