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AUM: Eight dorm blocks proposed at Zonqor

The American University of Malta at Zonqor Point will include eight dormitory blocks that will rise from four to nine levels

james
James Debono
2 August 2017, 8:00am
The application states the project lies both inside and outside development zones (ODZ) but the Planning Authority’s website still lists the dorms being inside the development zone
The application states the project lies both inside and outside development zones (ODZ) but the Planning Authority’s website still lists the dorms being inside the development zone
The American University of Malta at Zonqor Point will include eight dormitory blocks that will rise from four to nine levels.

The dorms will be built in the area that was identified as a national park in the local plan approved back in 2006.

The application, presented by Sadeen Education Investment Ltd, states the project lies both inside and outside development zones (ODZ) but the Planning Authority’s website still lists the dorms being inside the development zone.

Two of the four-storey blocks will enjoy direct unobstructed views of the Zonqor shoreline. The two blocks behind will rise to seven and nine floors, also enjoying sea views.

The part of the project that lies ODZ will three multipurpose sports courts set upon a three level underground car park for nearly 500 cars. The site of the former national swimming pool will be replaced by a seven-storey high administration building on which an even higher conical structure is planned. The building will house a 52 sq.m dining and lounge room overlooking a terrace on the sixth floor.  A boardroom will occupy the top floor.

A multi-faith centre, a clinic and bank are included in a student centre set over three levels above ground. The auditorium will have a seating capacity for 713 students. Most other buildings, including the engineering school, the IT and communication school and the arts school will be constructed on two or three levels. The buildings will be set around a massive central pool similar to the one at Smart City.

Sadeen’s application was presented on 17 February 2017, two months before the start of the election campaign during which no mention was made of the AUM project by the government.

Plans for three of the proposed dormitory blocks on ODZ land at Zonqor
Plans for three of the proposed dormitory blocks on ODZ land at Zonqor
ERA calls for studies

The Environment and Resources Authority has already commenced procedures for an Environment Impact Assessment, and has requested a separate assessment on the impact of the project on the adjacent Special Protection Area, designated for the protection of the Scopoli’s shearwater and storm petrel during the breeding season.

“The proposed development may lead to possible impacts on the SPA linked with habitat degradation, changes to hydrological regime, disturbance through noise and light emissions,” ERA said in a report to the PA. 

The ERA also highlighted the fact that the proposed dorm building would lie on the designated national park, where priority should be given to the conservation of natural heritage.

The PA has in the past already rejected applications for five glasshouses and a caravan site in the area where the dorms are being proposed.

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