Corinthia's Ħal Ferħ tourist complex could get residences after government seeks zoning change

Government is proposing a change in the local plan to enable the Corinthia Group to build residential apartments at the Ħal Ferħ tourist complex in Għajn Tuffieħa

The Hal Ferh site
The Hal Ferh site

The government has asked the Planning Authority to make an ad hoc change to the local plan to accommodate the Corinthia Group, which owns the land where a tourism complex was approved in 2013.

The main change being proposed to the local plan and the Ħal Ferħ Development Brief is to include permanent residential development in the list of acceptable land uses on the site of the tourist complex. The change in local plan is subject to public consultation.

While the primary land use in terms of gross developable floor space (GDF) will remain for tourism accommodation, the new brief will also establish a “balanced allowance” for residential use.

No increase in the total GDF shall be allowed; but the new brief will include planning parameters for residential use, to be developed in “a comprehensive manner as part of the tourist complex.”

In August, the Planning Authority had agreed to extend the permit for the conversion of the derelict Ħal Ferħ holiday complex in Għajn Tuffieħa into an upmarket tourist resort.

Island Hotels Group was issued a permit in 2013 for an €80 million project to convert part of the barracks into a low-lying complex of 228 luxury suites, pools, bars and restaurants. The company was eventually bought by the Corinthia Group.

Corinthia's International Hotel Investments took over the project in 2015 and subsequently announced plans for completion by 2018, but no works have ever been carried out on site.

The developers applied in January 2018 to renew the permit for another five years. The permit would have expired this year.

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