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Pembroke school developers say Chiswick to occupy ‘just 25% of footprint’

Residents up in arms against new school, but school director says premises will be available to community outside school hours

Matthew Vella
6 August 2017, 10:36am
Architects’ impression of the proposed new premises for Chiswick House School. Credit: MMP Studios
Architects’ impression of the proposed new premises for Chiswick House School. Credit: MMP Studios
The director of Chiswick House School, Bernie Mizzi, is insisting that a controversial new school build in Pembroke will take up “just 25 per cent of its allocated footprint”.

The primary school will relocate from its Kappara seat, but Pembroke residents are up in arms about the development, who are insisting that the vacant space be left unbuilt.

The government-owned plot in Pembroke was identified in collaboration with the CHS owners after other options, including existing buildings, were analysed. Mizzi said the chosen site forms part of a larger parcel of land that had been earmarked for development, for many years.

The Pembroke Development Brief in the North Harbours Local Plan designates the plot of land for development and incorporates the whole designated area of unbuilt land, not just the parcel where the proposed school is to be located.

Mizzi said CHS does not intend to increase capacity over the circa 900 students the school has. “What we wish to do is create an environment that benefits from open space – comprising both natural and recreational areas – where children can thrive.”

Architects’ impression of the proposed new premises for Chiswick House School. Credit: MMP Studios
Architects’ impression of the proposed new premises for Chiswick House School. Credit: MMP Studios
Mizzi said the new private school will be one of the first in Europe to use the innovative “pod and open-classroom concept, where children are encouraged to interact with their natural environment rather than being confined to a room.”

The school wants a private road to serve as a drop-off and pick-up area within the site itself, rather than on the adjacent road, and will include an 82-vehicle car park. Studies are being carried out to assess traffic flows.

“We understand residents’ concerns about our school occupying a portion of land that was left vacant when they built their own homes in the same area, but we also intend to make the premises available to the local community outside of school hours and believe they too can benefit from our innovative facilities,” Mizzi said.

CHS has appointed MMP architects and architecture firm Mizzi Studio together with an environmental consultant, who has been tasked with drawing up an environmental report for the area.

“We have put a lot of thought, time and research into this, but the consultation process is just beginning. We put into practice the principles of communication and collaboration that we teach our children and are attentively listening to everyone’s suggestions, including the Pembroke local council,” Mizzi said.

“In fact, we have already taken a few on board – such as looking into the possibility of making use of the park-and-ride system – and will continue to be receptive, meeting all stakeholders and listening to everyone.”

Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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