Sliema Preluna towers over residential street

Sliema’s Preluna Hotel is set to expand horizontally after a recent approval for a 15-storey development on the former Astra hotel

Sliema’s Preluna Hotel is set to expand horizontally after a recent approval for a 15-storey development on the former Astra hotel, and a new application for a 14-storey hotel extension on top of the Sciantusi pizzeria, which together will add 192 new rooms.

The new 14-storey extension is being proposed instead of an existing 7-storey high hotel wing overlooking Milner Street on top of the pizzeria. 

The applications follow the approval of an equally high extension over the former Astra hotel in the corner between Tower Road and Milner Street.

Malta’s first high-rise hotel, which dates back to the 1960s, is now expanding horizontally into Milner Street, which is officially still designated as a residential area despite the various commercial commitments undertaken in this street in the past decades.

The Preluna owners lately applied to demolish the wing of the hotel overlooking Milner Street to replace it with a 97-room and 14-storey four-star hotel with access from the original hotel fronting Tower Road. 

The three uppermost floors will be receded and stepped up to reach the same height of the original Preluna. 

The Planning Authority has already approved the incorporation of the neighbouring Astra hotel in the Preluna hotel. The development had been originally recommended for refusal by the case officer for being 7m higher than the Milner Street height limitation, after taking into consideration the extra three storeys permitted for hotel heights.

Milner Street is zoned in the local plan as a residential area where new hotels are not normally permitted. However, in his assessment the case officer acknowledged existing commitments on site for the existing Astra Hotel, the Preluna wing, the Europa Hotel, and the Park Hotel, and the fact that the area is part of a tourism zone.

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