Marsaxlokk FC revises sports hostel plans

Club seeking hostel and care home permits claims development will hide ‘boatyard clutter’ views

The proposed football project
The proposed football project

Marsaxlokk’s football club has described a 188-bed hostel and 255-room old people’s home as “a visual improvement” for its current site on disturbed land outside the building zones.

But photomontages show clear signs of urban spawl for the project being billed as a public-private partnership for both the club and the locality.

The club’s project vaguely hints at the involvement of government entities for a project seeking the green light from Sports Malta under sports commercialisation rules.

The existing sports ground and parking area
The existing sports ground and parking area

The project has been objected to by the Malta Developers Association, saying the applicants would enjoy an “unlevel playing field that puts private developments for such uses at an unfair disadvantage”.

The Marsaxlokk FC project will surround the existing football pitch, with a hostel on one side, and the care home on the other. Plans to develop a second football pitch on the adjacent public car-park built in 2018, have been ditched. But the hostel and care home will be on a public garden and disturbed land outside the development zone, including part of the parking area.

The club has requested a permit to cordon off the “under-utilised parking area” with a boundary wall, specifically the part acquired by the club.

The three-story care home will get an integrated and enlarged public garden. The developers say Marsaxlokk’s public gain will be a care home for the local elderly to keep living in the community, an enlarged public garden and “the creation of a landmark building with an elegant design.”

The existing garden hosts 84 trees and shrubs, including 17 Cypress trees and 12 pine trees, which under the club’s plans will be transplanted to a larger area by an outdoor public gym.

The club claims the height of the care home will close off views of the fishing village’s “boatyard clutter” on the coast right behind, without creating blank party walls, and staying lower than the 17.5m height maximum.

The Environmental and Resources Authority is still screening the project to determine whether it requires an environment impact assessment.