Developer proposes flats on Enemalta Qajjenza site he does not own

Developer Paul Attard proposes flats on former gas cylinder filling plant in Qajjenza • Unclear what Enemalta’s role is

A private company has submitted a zoning application for the development of four residential blocks on the site of the decommissioned Qajjenza gas filling plant. 

The application was filed by Paul Attard’s Katari Developments Ltd and envisages four residential blocks ranging from four to eight floors and two four-story office blocks. 

However, most of the 23,906sq.m site is owned by Enemalta (13,561 sq.m) and the government (3,408 sq.m). An additional 6,273sq.m are held by private owners. 

Document showing ownership of the land identified for residential development
Document showing ownership of the land identified for residential development

Attard, who is also one of the owners of Fort Cambridge developers GAP Limited, declared that he is not the sole owner of the site in question but has submitted forms indicating that he has notified the landowners of his intention. 

The owners listed in the documents are Enemalta, the government, and the Mifsud family. 

MaltaToday has reached out to Enemalta to understand what role the majority state-owned company has in this proposed development. 

Plan showing building heights which are being proposed.
Plan showing building heights which are being proposed.

The site was included in the development boundaries in the 2006 extension. The decommissioning of the Qajjenza liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant was approved in 2014 following the transfer of operations from Qajjenza to a new LPG cylinder filling facility developed by Gasco Malta Limited in Birżebbuġa. 

The former LPG plant, consisting of 20 storage tanks, was located in the immediate vicinity of a residential area. The site has a frontage along the Birżebbuġa coast road to the south and is surrounded by open fields to the north and east. The tanks and production area were constructed either directly on the rock or on rubble surfaced with concrete. 

Location of the 23,906 sq.m site proposed  for development.
Location of the 23,906 sq.m site proposed for development.

The application as presented seeks a change in zoning of the site and the establishment of building heights. The local plan identifies the site for residential use, noting that the site has "an impressive waterfront location," with potential for commercial use such as bars and restaurants, as well as an area with a minimum size of 7,500sq.m for small boat storage and minor maintenance. The height limitation of the area, as established in the local plan, is three floors rising to four by the seafront. 

Katari’s plans envision 10,699sq.m of residential development on 47% of the land in question and 13,207sq.m of "open space area." 

The height of the proposed apartments suggests that the developer is making use of the 'floor area ratio,' a planning mechanism that allows for development higher than the height limitation if this is compensated for by open spaces on sites greater than 4,000sq.m. 

Residents objecting to the project have expressed their concerns about the visual impact and the project’s negative effect on the serene character of this part of the town. Moreover, they fear an increase in traffic and greater pressure on the infrastructure. They also lament that the open space being created will not benefit the existing community.