PA indicates intention to approve extra floor on Panorama hotel

ERA chairman Victor Axiak, NGO representative Annick Bonello and economist Gilmour Camilleri voted against the proposal due to the visual impact, whilst all other 8 board members voted for the project

The red shading represents the proposed new floors on the Panorama Hotel in Mellieha (Photo montage supplied by AD)
The red shading represents the proposed new floors on the Panorama Hotel in Mellieha (Photo montage supplied by AD)

The Planning Authority has indicated its intention to approve the extension of an existing penthouse level on the Panorama hotel, which is located on a prominent and sensitive location on the ridge overlooking Ghadira Bay, Mellieha. 

ERA chairman Victor Axiak, NGO representative Annick Bonello and economist Gilmour Camilleri voted against the proposal due to the visual impact of the extra floor. 

All other 8 board members voted for the project.  Since the board members were overturning the case officer’s recommendation to refuse the permit, the final vote will be taken in another hearing.

The application originally foresaw the addition of three full storeys to the existing hotel but this was changed to converting an existing receded floor into a full floor following an outcry in the locality. But this application was still objected to by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage due to the sensitive location of the hotel which, from some viewpoints, obscures the Mellieha Parish Church.  

The hotel is currently five floors high and sits on the ridge. The hotel, which dates back to the late 1960s, had a penthouse level approved in 2010 on condition that it would be removed if the hotel ceased operations.

After the case officer recommended a refusal, in December the Planning Board indicated that the permit could be issued if further changes to plans were made.  New plans were submitted  which included a setback of approximately 3.20m on facades on Triq Dun Belin Azzopardi and Triq Gnien Ingraw and a setback of approximately 1.8m on facade facing ridge edge. The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage was not consulted again following the submission of the latest plans.

The hotel was not eligible for extra storeys envisaged in the  Height Limitation Adjustment Policy for Hotels which specifically excludes ridge edges. The existing receded floor was approved in previous permits. The application in question comprises of the extension of the receded floor into a full floor.

The North West Local Plan sets the building height limitation of the area as 3 floors with basement which translates into an overall height of 16.3 meters and a street frontage of 12.9 meters. The proposed overall building height limitation is of 17.7 meters from the highest pavement level of Triq Dun Belin Azzopardi and 22.3 meters from the highest pavement level of Triq Gnien Ingraw.

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