Traffic studies required for Swatar farmland development

Traffic study required due to Swatar development’s ‘blocking-back effect’

The area is a green lung in the heavily congested area, which means its development would eliminate one of the few rural enclaves separating Swatar from Msida
The area is a green lung in the heavily congested area, which means its development would eliminate one of the few rural enclaves separating Swatar from Msida

The Planning Authority has finally acknowledged the need of a traffic impact assessment to avoid a “blocking-back effect” on major junctions by prospective development in Swatar.

Originally the PA had excluded a development brief to set the parameters for development of a commercial and residential village on existing farmland.

Developers have now been instructed to prepare studies assessing the traffic impact of the controversial zoning application over an area the size of 15 football pitches.

The assessment has to include estimates of the trips generated by the new development, which includes both residential and commercial development, determine the amount of parking spaces required and assess the impact on the carrying capacity of existing junction. It has also to assess the likely environmental impact arising from the traffic generated by the proposed development, and explore alternative modes of transport and green travel.

The area is a green lung in the heavily congested area, which means its development would eliminate one of the few rural enclaves separating Swatar from Msida.

Development will rise to 22m and occupy 70% of the present site, which presently consists mostly of agricultural land, some rural buildings, a cow farm, as well as residential development near St Martin’s College.

Development will rise to 22m and occupy 70% of the present site, which presently consists mostly of agricultural land
Development will rise to 22m and occupy 70% of the present site, which presently consists mostly of agricultural land

The landowners want to develop a commercial zone along the bypass which includes a disused old quarry. Plans also foresee the redevelopment of the school itself, which will include students’ accommodation facilities. Tourism and leisure development is being proposed in all zones except the school zone.

The landowners include S.C. & Co Limited, PD Finance, Paul Vella’s P&S Ltd, Anton Camilleri’s Camcas Ltd, Malta Developers Association president Sandro Chetcuti, entrepreneur James Barbara and several other individual owners. The Lands Authority owns part of the site.

The enormous site is one of the largest areas added to the development zones in 2006 and is bounded by Triq Dun Karm bypass, Triq is-Swatar, Triq Indri Grima and Triq Mgr Innocenz Zammit. Apart from extensive agricultural fields, the area also includes a number of old farmhouses, rubble walls and some dwellings.

The local plan stipulates that the PA should prepare a development brief for the area before private development is even considered.

But in 2019 a spokesperson for the PA had told MaltaToday that it had no intention of issuing such a zoning plan for public consultation, and that it will instead consider the zoning application presented by the owners of the site.

The local plan states that the development brief should consider “low traffic-generating” employment uses in the area with “preference given to ancillary uses and related to the existing Mater Dei Hospital and the University”, and a limited amount of student housing, and expanding the existing private school.

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