Qormi Centerparc wants two-storey DIY centre after local plan changes

A proposed amendment to the local plan in 2019 would increase the building by 11.4m ahead of the new Centerparc application

The original plans for the Centerparc mall was to have a soft landscaped roof. Now it will go over 11m above the Qormi Road
The original plans for the Centerparc mall was to have a soft landscaped roof. Now it will go over 11m above the Qormi Road

The Centerparc shopping complex in Qormi, which houses the popular Decathlon retail outlet, is requesting permits for two new storeys for a 5,400sq.m DIY centre.

In April 2019 the Planning Authority had launched a public consultation on the revision of the local plan, with the declared aim of deleting a condition that the roof of the building below the Qormi Road be allocated for soft landscaping, to allow building heights to 11.4m above the upper road.

The original project had been approved on condition that the roof of the building below Qormi Road is allocated for soft landscaping.

The latest plans by Centerparc Holdings, a company partly owned by TumInvest, still foresee an outdoor gym, a green roof and a running track over the new 3458-sq.m roof.

The area, which formerly consisted of an agricultural field that served as a lung for the highly urbanised area, was designated for soft landscaping and underlying warehouses in the local plan approved in 2006. In 2013, the area was rezoned again for the development of an elderly home and landscaped public spaces, and then rezoned once again for retail development in 2017.

In the new plans, a drive-thru restaurant along with a restaurant with indoor seating and an outdoor area are also included.

The development will increase car trips by 1,377. And while the Environment and Resources Authority has exempted the project from an impact assessment, air quality studies taking account of the increase in traffic, are still required.

Traffic in the area will also be impacted by another permit for a massive 5-storey office block proposed by Joseph Portelli on a neighbouring site. The application has still to be published on the Planning Authority website as it is still deemed to be “incomplete” and therefore public consultation on the proposed development still has to take place.

The Centerparc application itself also refers to the development of a supermarket but plans submitted so far indicate that the area will be allocated for the DIY centre.

Works on the first phase of the project had resulted in the discovery of a Roman tomb and several cart ruts. These had to be preserved and incorporated in the development. A historical farmhouse, which had to be restored, was demolished and replaced with a replica described as a “pastiche” by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage. According to the latest plans the farmhouse will be now be rebuilt on the second level next to the DIY centre and will be used by security personnel.