Gozo hotel would gobble up 530 sq. metres of ODZ land

The six-storey hotel will have an approximate total gross floor area of 8,000 square metres, and will also include another pool on the roof over 1,193 square metres. 

A hotel proposed in Marsalforn will extend into 530 square metres of outside-development zones, with a swimming pool and surrounding terraces that will extend into an Area of High Landscape Sensitivity.

The 4-star hotel, which is being proposed by Pristina Properties, owned by Victor Bigeni, is set to include 87 double bedrooms, a restaurant, conference facilities, a gym, health and spa facilities, an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, and underground parking for approximately 43 cars.

The six-storey hotel will have an approximate total gross floor area of 8,000 square metres, and will also include another pool on the roof over 1,193 square metres.

A project development statement presented by the developers shows that the developers are trying to mitigate the impact on the landscape by enclosing the outdoor swimming pool at the rear of the site within landscaped banks, and by implementing a landscaping scheme to lessen the visual exposure of the project.

In 2009, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority had approved the development of 29 apartments and four penthouses over four storeys on the part of the site which lies within the development zone, located between two existing blocks of buildings.

Permission was also granted to demolish a solitary farmhouse located between the two already built blocks, which is the only building presently on site. A screening report by the Environment Directorate concludes that the development involves substantial encroachment beyond development zone boundaries – equivalent to more than half of the site – leading to urban sprawl.

The report attributes this to the “disproportionately largescale development being proposed on a relatively small developable site at the edge of the built-up area”.

But the report concludes that this issue does not merit further detailed assessment through the EIA process, as these can be directly addressed through the development control process.

Nature Trust warned that this development would create a very dangerous precedent as the current application spills into an ODZ area within what is being referred to as ‘abandoned fields’, and happens to touch the boundary line of agricultural fields. 

More in Environment