Marsa sports complex rezoning proposal suggests tourism accommodation, offices

The Planning Authority is proposing new policies for the Marsa sports complex area, which it says could be turned into an international sports hub

The Marsa horse racing track in the foreground is part of a much larger area designated for sports facilities
The Marsa horse racing track in the foreground is part of a much larger area designated for sports facilities

Tourism accommodation and offices will be allowed alongside sports and recreational facilities at the Marsa sports complex, according to a policy review proposed by the Planning Authority.

The review covers an area of more than 700,000sq.m and has divided the Marsa sports complex site into four zones, proposing a maximum built footprint of not more than 60,000sq.m.

The PA said on Friday that the proposed rezoning will help the area become an international sports hub. The review includes areas in the immediate vicinity of the Marsa sports grounds and is proposing an increase of two floors for commercial development where the Centreparc Shopping Complex is situated on the Qormi side.

The consultation exercise is open until 10 July.

The PA said the primary facilities in Zone A (the area where the athletics track is situated) will need to be associated with gymnastics, weightlifting, squash, athletics, football, handball, softball, rugby and both indoor and outdoor archery. A high-performance training centre with a multipurpose stadium and indoor pool will be encouraged.

Ancillary land use facilities may include spectator stands, tourism accommodation, offices, clubhouses, and food and drink outlets. Any buildings within this zone shall not exceed 20m above sea level and need to be of high architectural design quality.

An area to the north of this zone, covering a footprint of 6,000sq.m is proposed to be designated as a public picnic area and is to include furniture conducive to the enjoyment of the area.

In Zone B (the area where the horse racing track is situated), the land may primarily be used for international standard facilities related to horse racing, equestrian sports, training areas and stables.

The proposed planning review will allow for tourism accommodation and offices to be included in future plans
The proposed planning review will allow for tourism accommodation and offices to be included in future plans

Ancillary facilities within this zone may include a grandstand, clubhouses, assembly and leisure, food and drink outlets and betting shops. An area within this zone is being designated for secondary uses and may include commercial facilities.

The Marsa horse racing track and adajcent areas were transferred on concession by the government to a private company for the development of an international standard facility. Plans were submitted by the developers last January.

READ ALSO: Plans for Marsa racecourse revamp include nine-storey development

Within this zone, it is being proposed that up to 9,000sq.m be designated as a multi-storey car park and bus depot.  The facades of any buildings within this area need to be screened off with vertical green wall and have appropriate maintenance agreements.

In Zone C (the golf course area), the land use must be related to golf facilities and a golf academy. Ancillary facilities may include clubhouses, offices and food and drink outlets.

The proposed land use in Zone D will be facilities related to the sport disciplines of tennis, squash and cricket. Ancillary facilities may be the same as for Zone C.

An area to the north-east of the site is to be reserved for the upgrading of the road network as part of the project to improve traffic flow along Triq Aldo Moro.  

The PA said that given the nature of the site it was also encouraging a “strong element of green infrastructure” to be incorporated into any upgrading or redevelopment of existing facilities.

The review is also proposing changes to conditions for the Centreparc Shopping Mall area, which is adjacent to the horse racing track by allowing the construction of a further two floors in certain parts.

The PA said all public opens spaces must remain safeguarded and effectively landscaped and maintained. 

The policy review will require changes to three local plans - the Grand Harbour, South Malta and Central Malta.

Feedback to the policies can be made on e-mail address: [email protected]

The proposed policy document and maps together with the public submissions received during the initial phase of consultation are available on the Authority’s website

Submissions are to reach the Authority by 10 July 2020.