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MaltaToday 25 January 2023 MIDWEEK

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9 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 25 JANUARY 2023 JAMES DEBONO THE ALS charity run by tireless campaigner Bjorn Formosa is eying an even larger facility in Ħaż-Żebbuġ by connecting its existing six-storey respite home in Triq Pawlu Balzan, to a new facility to be developed instead of a two-storey townhouse in the narrow Triq Paris, 40m off the urban conservation area. The request is to demolish the townhouse, retain the façade and add three storeys and an under- ground car park, to house eight residential rooms and two ther- apy rooms. The top two storeys will be stepped back to minimise the visual impact. Eight residents from the town have already objected to the additional three storeys on the existing façade which they fear will create an unbearable eyesore which will ruin the characteris- tic architectural features of the whole street. But although the street is en- tirely composed of two storey houses, the development as pro- posed conforms to the height limitation of the area. Residents also expressed con- cern on the traffic impact on the narrow Triq Paris, and the effect on the structural stability of their houses which may be under- mined by excavation. The care home was approved in 2018 and came as a result of the tireless fundraising initia- tives captained by ALS sufferer and activist Bjorn Formosa. The six-storey facility was approved within a residential zone with a height limitation of three floors. Back then, the case officer ac- knowledged that the proposed development exceeds the height limitation of the area. But noting the proposed use of the new facility, the PA's direc- torate decided to apply a policy regulating the heights of old people's homes, which permits an additional two floors over and above the number of floors permitted in the local plan, pro- vided that "the resultant design features a high-quality product in keeping with the urban con- text and no blank walls are cre- ated." New five-storey extension for Dar Bjorn JAMES DEBONO A proposed redevelopment of the Amazo- nia beach club in St Paul's Bay will increase the height of the project by 11.5m above the existing promenade. But the Environ- ment and Resources Authority concluded that this will have little visual impact on the densely urbanised locality. The St Paul's Bay local council has for- mally objected to the proposed extension. The Amazonia complex is located on the foreshore between Bugibba's perched beach and the Dolmen resort, linked to the hotel through an underground passage be- neath Dawret il-Gżejjer. Plans submitted by the Tumas Group, which owns the Dolmen hotel, foresee an upgrade of the Amazonia resort through the construction of a new promenade lev- el, where two new kiosks with outside ta- bles and a public open space are also being proposed on top of two pool deck levels. Two restaurants, a water sports area and a pool deck are being proposed on a sec- ond lower level, beneath the promenade. A third level located below the restau- rants will include showers, toilets, chang- ing rooms, a children's pool and a mas- sive 370sq.m adults' pool, increasing the pool deck area from 360sq.m, to almost 2,000sq.m. "Whilst such increase in massing will intensify the visual prominence of the de- velopment on site, it is unlikely that this increase will significantly affect the visual amenity of the area, noting that this area is already densely built up, whereby even the coastal strip is committed to development and surrounded by intensive urban build- ings," the ERA concluded. ERA also recognised that the redevel- opment will intensify development with gross floor area growing to 7,700sq.m, but conceded this is limited to the existing footprint of the beach club and no addi- tional land or coastal area will be taken up. The site is already committed for com- mercial uses and the foreshore will remain accessible to the general public. The pro- ject will create nearly over 11,000cb.m of construction and demolition waste, but the ERA said this amount "is not consid- ered significant as long as efforts are done to maximise the reuse of such material." The ERA called for the reconstruction of an "unsightly boundary wall" facing the Area of High Landscape Value and Area of Ecological Importance to the north of the site, which should be more compatible with the surrounding environment. It also wants a lighting plan, to avoid addition- al light pollution, and a Works Method Statement (WMS) to prevent spillages in- to the marine environment and minimise dust and noise generation. The owners say the project has "poten- tial" to improve the area's character by introducing a new open space "providing" views of San Pawl il-Baħar from the prom- enade. "However, the proposed increase in the height of the Scheme and the estab- lishment of a promenade level catering fa- cility will impact the landscape and visual amenity of the promenade in breach of the North West Local Plan policies," the own- ers' project statement states. In fact, the local plan approved in 2006 limits the height of any extension to coast- al developments in the area to one which does not "exceed the height of any exist- ing legal structure within the site". More- over, any increase in "solid structures" on the promenade is ruled out to ensure that views onto the bay are not obstructed. As proposed the complex will have a footprint of 3,900sq.m, the same as the present de- velopment. ERA clears way for Amazonia redevelopment but St Paul's Bay council objects

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