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Meridien set to rise to 13 storeys

A proposed vertical extension of two and three storeys is being proposed on different parts of the already imposing Meridien hotel in St Julian’s, which visually dominates the Balluta Bay area

james
James Debono
25 July 2017, 8:30am
Not yet high enough...
Not yet high enough...
A proposed vertical extension of two and three storeys is being proposed on different parts of the already imposing Meridien hotel in St Julian’s, which visually dominates the Balluta Bay area.

The existing hotel, originally approved in 2000 with little concern on its visual impact on the area, already rises to a maximum of 11 storeys with a pool area located on the 12th floor.  

According to new plans submitted to the Planning Authority the new building will rise to a maximum of 13 storeys, with the pool being located on the 14th floor.

A policy approved in 2014 allows hotels which are not located within the Urban Conservation Areas (UCAs) or which are not outside development schemes, to add two extra storeys if “the resultant design features a high quality product in keeping with the urban context and no blank walls are created”.

A part of the Meridien Hotel – that which includes Villa Cassar Torregiani – is located within the UCA but the rest of the hotel is not.  

Moreover the UCA designation of part of the hotel does not necessarily preclude the PA from approving the extension. The PA has already approved extra storeys on the Riviera Hotel in Marfa, which is ODZ.

Through this policy hotels which are neither ODZ or in UCAs and other sensitive areas like ridges may apply for development permission to increase the height of the hotel building to not more than two additional floors over and above the height limitation permitted in the Local Plan. 

The application presented in January will add 114 beds to the Meridien hotel.

Plans submitted to the PA show an addition of three storeys on the western wing of the hotel and the addition of two storeys on the eastern wing.

The owners of the hotel have also applied to develop a multi-storey car park, and an overlying “temporary garden and pool”.

The new underground car park will provide for 330 parking spaces.

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