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St Julian’s Wied Ghomor vista threatened by five-storey hotel proposal

An applicant who won a permit for a two-storey dwelling upon appeal is now asking for a five-storey hotel on the same site at Wied Ghomor in St Julian’s

james
James Debono
19 July 2017, 8:21am
Wied Ghomor will be addressed in the process of preparing the Public Domain Annual Report for 2018
Wied Ghomor will be addressed in the process of preparing the Public Domain Annual Report for 2018
An applicant who won a permit for a two-storey dwelling upon appeal to the EPRT (environment and planning review tribunal) after the Planning Authority turned him down, is now asking for a five-storey hotel on the same site at Wied Ghomor in St Julian’s.

The hotel would be sited atop the valley just opposite a row of apartment blocks. However the higher volume would be more visually dominant when viewed from the rear onto Wied Ghomor.

Back in April, Environment Minister Jose Herrera announced that he had personally proposed the valley, between Swieqi and San Gwann, for protection under the Public Domain Act.

However, when the Planning Authority released a list of 24 proposed sites for public consultation last week, Wied Ghomor was not among them because the proposal for Wied Ghomor was submitted after the cut-off date established for sites to be considered in the Public Domain Annual Report of 2017. 

Wied Ghomor will be addressed in the process of preparing the Public Domain Annual Report for 2018.

From a two-storey permit to five storeys: a once refused permit could be set to pave the way for a hotel on the edge of the valley
From a two-storey permit to five storeys: a once refused permit could be set to pave the way for a hotel on the edge of the valley
In 2014 the PA had rejected an application for the construction of a house on the site of the proposed hotel, which had been presented by the same owner.

Subsequently an appeal was presented and the tribunal decided that permission for a dwelling should be granted but that its bulk should be reduced in order to respect the topography of the valley. Revised plans were submitted and approved. 

But the new application foresees a building which is four storeys high when viewed from the street and five storeys high when viewed from the valley and from across the valley and in an area where two-storey buildings are allowed.

Din l-Art Helwa has objected to the proposed development, arguing that the previous application was only approved at the appeals tribunal after it was limited to two storeys. 

“The approved footprint and height should not be altered. This kind of structure is not congruous to rural dwellings and should not be permitted in ODZ,” Din l-Art Helwa said.

The Environment and Resources Authority has also objected, saying the development “exceeds by far the scale and massing of the approved development” and that the the additional height and massing and high rear boundary wall “are likely to visually intrude onto Wied Ghomor”.

Moreover the ERA said approval would set a precedent for similar development on existing vacant plots within this area.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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