MaltaToday previous editions

MALTATODAY 26 June 2022

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 51

8 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 26 JUNE 2022 NEWS JAMES DEBONO THE proposed construction of five floors and a penthouse on Britannia Flats has been given the blessing of the Superintend- ence for Cultural Heritage after its topmost two storeys were re- ceded. Fafner Limited will turn the standalone, early-20th centu- ry on Tower Road and Amery Street, into a 10-storey block. The Superintendence had dubbed the proposed design unacceptable back in March 2022 because the extension was incompatible with the existing building. While not excluding new, modern storeys, the SCH insisted that the proposed ex- tension should have the same "building rhythm" of the exist- ing building. But the SCH dropped its ob- jection following a 3D model presentation of the develop- ment, reflecting changes to plans to step down the back of the building overlooking the Urban Conservation Area. And a first new floor above the ex- isting building was redesigned on the seaward side to soften the transition from the exist- ing traditional building to the more contemporary additions. The Planning Authority has yet to take a final decision on the development but the SCH's objection was a major obstacle for its approval. Brittania Flats is one of the few traditional buildings un- touched by the transforma- tion of Tower Road in the 1980s and early 1990s, when traditional townhouses were knocked down to make way for eight-storey tower blocks. Residents objecting to the de- velopment have expressed con- cerned by the over shadowing on neighbouring streets par- ticularly the very narrow Triq Luzju. Several pointed out that the development will impinge upon the privacy of residents in Triq Luzju and warned that the proposed height is in breach of sanitary rules. In fact, four years ago a case officer had deemed a previ- ous application proposing additional floors on half the building's roof to be in breach of sanitary regulations which state that in streets or open spaces which are wider than 3m but less than or equal to 15m, the overall height of the facade should not exceed three times the width of the street. In this regard, according the case officer the overall building height on Trejqet Luzju, indi- cated to be 3.88m wide, is not to exceed 11.64m. The applica- tion was later withdrawn. Heritage watchdog green-lights six storeys on Sliema's Britannia flats JAMES DEBONO THE Planning Authority's plan- ning directorate received 3,192 complaints from various sourc- es alleging illegal development throughout 2021, a drop of 121 complaints over the previous year. In 59% of the cases reported by complainants, illegal devel- opment was carried out. But in 663 cases, the owners of the illegalities addressed their infringements by submitted a sanctioning application. On the other hand, in 47% of the complaints where illegal development was identified, the contraveners themselves complied or removed the ille- gal development, prior to fur- ther action being taken by the Directorate. During the same period, the directorate was compelled to issue 131 enforcement notices resulting directly from com- plaints received. "In line with overall objectives, every effort was made to solve cases in an amicable manner without the need to resort to formal en- forcement action. However, where abuse persisted and co- operation from contraveners was not forthcoming, stop and enforcement notices were is- sued," the PA said. During 2021, in total the PA issued 164 stop-and-enforce- ment notices, a decrease of just five notices from the previous year. This was in line with a strategy to resolve infringe- ments by more efficient means, rather than by issuing enforce- ment notices. Almost 65% of the no- tices issued were subject to daily fines, which act as a positive deterrent against contraveners to address the infringements in the shortest possible timeframe. A total of 417 stop-and-en- forcement notices were closed off, of which 202 were the re- sult of permissions granted to sanction the illegal develop- ment. A further 149 enforce- ment notices were closed since the illegal development was re- moved by the contravener. Build now, sanction later: 663 seek permit for illegalities flagged by public Over 3,000 complaints on illegal developments New ring road will separate proposed residential and hotel complex from a proposed 13-storey development along the Xgħajra coast JAMES DEBONO AN 11-storey, mixed-use block for a hotel and residential units is being proposed on a site pres- ently used as a temporary car park for the Smart City project, directly overlooking the low- rise and picturesque seaside lo- cality of Xgħajra. The develoment will in- clude both a hotel and a res- idential development of up to 128 units, covering a gross floor area of 37,000sq.m, split between 22,000sq.m for the hotel and 17,000sq.m for the apartments. The two plots had been al- ready identified for develop- ment in the original Smart City permit of 2009. But resi- dential development was pre- viously excluded on this site in the project's original zoning for commercial development and a hotel. A comparison of plans in- dicates an increase in height over 2009 limits, from 48m to 60m above sea level. The development is in close proximity to a proposed 13-storey, 161-unit devel- opment proposed by Jason Mifsud's Elegant Homes. The two major developments will be separated by a new ring road, also proposed by Smart City, which is still being as- sessed by the PA. Xgħajra presently has a pop- ulation of less than 2,000 peo- ple. 11-storey development proposed in Smart City's carpark The two plots had been already identified for development in the original Smart City permit of 2009.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MALTATODAY 26 June 2022