Another supermarket proposal... right next to Mosta Lidl

New supermarket proposed in Josmar warehouse complex just 60 metres away from Mosta Lidl supermarket on site of archaeological remains

A new supermarket is being proposed in the Josmar warehouse complex along Triq id-Difiza Civili in Mosta, less than 60 metres away from an existing Lidl supermarket on a site where the demolition of existing warehouses yielded archaeological remains.

The Planning Authority had already approved the redevelopment of the warehouse complex in 2019.

The latest application proposes a supermarket on the ground floor, over the same 1,500sq.m footprint of the previously approved warehouses, and a two-storey underground car park for 134 vehicles. Warehouses will be retained on the first floor.

Tombs and cart ruts have been found during excavations approved on the site of the proposed supermarket
Tombs and cart ruts have been found during excavations approved on the site of the proposed supermarket

Archaeological excavations in the area after the issuance of the warehouses permit unearthed a catacomb with three chambers, four tombs – some of which consist of double chambers – and a pair of cart-ruts, apart from ancient quarries, rock-cut features and agricultural trenches.

The supermarket’s latest plans foresee a change in layout and size of the basement level following the discovery of these archaeological features.

The developers had already proposed a retail complex back in 2018, but the proposal was dropped after the PA’s planning directorate pointed out that the area had been zoned for industrial development where retail shops were not acceptable.

Instead the PA approved the reconstruction of a two-storey existing warehouse complex with underlying garage.

The owners protested that the nearby Lidl supermarket had been permitted, despite the designation of the area as industrial. In reply, the PA directorate noted that while retail outlets are not acceptable in industrial sites, supermarkets are considered as an “acceptable introduction in industrial areas.”

Peprina Ltd, the company owned by Christian James Gatt and Nathalie Gatt, presented the application. Although outside development zones, the area is a so-called ‘area of containment’ where industrial and commercial development is normally allowed.

Infrastructure Malta recently applied to upgrade the roundabout junction linking Triq id-Difiza Civili to Triq il-Kostituzzjoni to include bypass lanes. The development will result in the uprooting of 22 trees including two Aleppo Pine trees.