The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) Board has granted development permission for the construction of a hazardous waste storage facility within the existing Ghallis landfill complex limits of Naxxar.
The development, which forms part of the master plan that was approved in 2006 will also include the construction of an administrative building, security facilities, closed 40ft container bays, two substations, Quarantine Area, Reverse Osmosis facility and a workshop.
The Mepa Board also approved the redevelopment of the existing Forestals showroom and warehouses along The Strand in Sliema. The new development will include the construction of upmarket residential apartments with parking facilities and commercial space. Similar to most properties along The Stand in the Gzira/Sliema area, this development will be built on 8 floors plus a semi basement.
The height limitation along the Gzira/Sliema promenade, which falls outside the Urban Conservation Area of both localities, has since 1988 always been that of eight floors.
During the public meeting, a number of objectors raised the issue as to why an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) had not been carried out during the processing of this application.
The Planning Directorate, following consultation with the Environment Protection Directorate, notified the Board that the size of the proposed development was well below the legal threshold for an EIA to be carried out. The Planning Directorate also noted that the proposed development was at a considerable distance away from the Villa Bonici scheduled area and that a Traffic Impact Statement had been approved by Transport Malta.
Another point which was raised by an objector was that the proposed development was going to compromise the Local Plan University strategic view point policy. The Planning Directorate informed the Board that this policy had been included in the Local Plan to address possible strategic view points of tall buildings which significantly exceed the height limitation of an area. This development was in accordance with the streetscape, local plan height limitation and the Policy and Design Guidance.
The Mepa Board cited that in this case, the issue of height limitation was not an issue of concern since the proposed development will neatly fit into the 8 floor streetscape of the Sliema Strand. The Board unanimously agreed that the proposed development was in conformity with planning policies and was not going to compromise the surrounding area.
The Board also approved the development for the construction of a Cathedral Parish Centre located within an existing built up area in Triq il-Kastell, Rabat, Gozo. The project will include the construction of three meeting rooms, a hall, the Archbishop's residence with staff quarters and a garage.