11-storey hotel could tower over narrow Gzira road

A 93-room, 11-storey hotel could be set to tower over the narrow Triq Belvedere in Gzira

Aerial view of the area
Aerial view of the area

A 93-room, 11-storey hotel could be set to tower over the narrow Triq Belvedere in Gzira.

The area, presently characterised by 3 or 4 storey buildings, is a narrow road which links the Gzira promenade to the health centre and the police station.

The development, proposed by Kris Calleja, will also protrude into a large internal gar-den which includes a number of trees.

The existing façades will be retained, but as proposed the development could be in breach of sanitary regulations which specify that the overall height of the façade must not exceed three times the street’s width.

A previous application submitted last year proposing the same height over a smaller site, had been recommended for refusal by the case officer for this very reason.

The case officer also warned that the external appearance of the proposed development was of concern in view of the building’s height-to-width ratio, which will result “in a pencil-type like development.”

But on that occasion, the architect had requested a suspension to be able to submit a new PA application over a larger site, which includes an adjacent property. This site has now been included in this application.

This part of Triq Belvedere in Gzira is presently designated as a Design Priority Area and is part of Gzira’s Principal Urban Area – a designation which normally precludes hotel developments.

The local plan specifies a height limitation of four floors with basement in this part of the locality, which translates into a street frontage height of 17.4m.

The local plan specifies that hotels sited in this local plan area may exceed this height by one floor, while the policy regulating hotel heights permits another two floors. Case officers have interpreted this to mean that a maximum of two floors can be added, but the Planning Authority’s boards have on a number of occasions interpreted this to mean that three more floors can be added.

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