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MaltaToday 10 May 2023 MIDWEEK

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NEWS 9 maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 10 MAY 2023 Five-storey block on Hamrun High Street benefits from precedent JAMES DEBONO A five-storey block is eamarked on the site of the Camilleri Mo- bili furniture shop on the St Jo- seph High Street in Hamrun. J&C Properties foresees the erection of four apartments on each overlying storey, while re- taining the existing façade, and a ground-floor office. The site is located in front of Hamrun's urban conserva- tion area (UCA) within a road prominently made up of tradi- tional houses, in the vicinity of the Hamrun football ground. The Superintendence for Cul- tural Heritage said the build- ing, dating from the early 20th century, forms part of a "very significant and legible street- scape largely characterised by two-storey buildings of similar character." The SCH has so far not ex- pressed itself on the proposed development, asking for more information but called for a design that is "sympathetic to the existing building and sur- rounding context." But the streetscape where the five-storey block is being proposed is already prejudiced by a neighbouring develop- ment, separated from the pro- posed development by anoth- er two-storey building. The development, approved three years ago, comprises three new floors, of which two are reced- ed. The approval was grant- ed despite strong objections by the Hamrun local council, which warned of the "danger- ous precedent within the lo- cality and specifically within the street itself." In fact, the latest application is proposing a building of the same height as the one approved in 2020. The Superintendence then had also described the pro- posed height as excessive and one which "disrupts the ex- isting predominant rhythm and proportions of the street- scape." On that occasion the Superintendence made it clear that it would consider accept- able only the addition of one floor above the existing pro- truding cornice, to ensure that the building would be in "har- mony" with the streetscape. Residents object toĦZebbugĦseven- storey home for elderly JAMES DEBONO Residents in Ħaż-Żebbuġ are objecting to a seven-storey high home for the elderly, proposed in a residential area facing the countryside and just 35m away from the Tal-Għodor windmill, a Knights-era structure that enjoys Grade 1 protection. The development will in- clude four underground levels for cars, and other facilities, a chapela hall, retail area, phar- macy and clinic, and 98 rooms in six overlying floors. The building is proposed on a site where the Planning Au- thority in 2019 had already approved two blocks of five storeys for 30 dwellings, also proposed by Fulani Properties, the promoters of the old peo- ple's home. Existing policies allow the addition of two storeys on old people's homes, over and above height limits established in lo- cal plans, in order to address the country's shortage of old people's homes. The home will reach a height of 24m, making it 6.5m high- er than the height limit in the area, which is predominantly formed by two-storey terraced houses. Residents fear the creation of a blank party wall that will overhang the one-storey garag- es found next to the windmill. The PA has already received nearly 200 objections in the past days. Residents expressed concern on the height of the project and its traffic impact. Some also expressed concern that the excavation of four un- derground levels would endan- ger an old underground reser- voir found in the areas which they claim is interconnected to gardens found in Żebbuġ's ur- ban conservation area. Decision to allow three new storeys on nearby block, despite council's objections, paves way for latest five- storey block

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