PA set to refuse four storeys on Villino Zammit

The proposed works would entail the demolition of an existing old wall along Triq San Nikola at the back of site, the construction of accommodation rooms in the villa gardens, additions at the second floor and four new floors on part of the building

Plans to convert Villino Zammit, a protected 19th century building fronting Sliema’s High Street, into a boutique hotel, have hit a snag after the case officer entrusted to assess the project called on the PA board to refuse the permit.

A public hearing is scheduled for 13 September.

The proposed works would entail the demolition of an existing old wall along Triq San Nikola at the back of site, the construction of accommodation rooms in the villa gardens, additions at the second floor and four new floors on part of the building.

Villino Zammit was designed by the prominent late-19th century architect Francesco Zammit and is one of the few surviving examples of detached villas in Sliema complete with their surrounding gardens.

The villa consists of an imposing two-storey, neo-classical structure, originally constructed as an opulent residence with a large rear garden and smaller front garden.

The gardens of the villa where most of the present development is proposed are not scheduled but according to the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage still have the same layout found in a survey dating back to 1914.

The proposed height of development is not in line with the Urban Conservation Area in which it is located, and is in breach of design guidelines which require that building heights are based on a streetscape analysis in order not to create an unacceptable visual impact.

This is the second application presented by applicant Malcolm Dato Mallia. In 2014 the Planning Authority approved the restoration of the Grade 2 building and the construction of a swimming pool in the garden. In 2003 a previous owner had presented an application for a change from residential use to a casino and restaurant.

The application also foresaw the construction of an additional floor and the provision of underground parking. The application was later withdrawn.

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