Lands Authority must decide whether to overrule Gzira lido deed

Aqualuna lido land granted by parliamentary resolution needs no-objection from Lands Authority as to whether it can ignore condition that rooftop is left unecumbered

The Gżira seafront hotels seeking a permit to place sunbeds on the rooftop deck of the Aqualuna lido will have to obtain clearance from the Lands Authority, before obtaining the green light from the Planning Authority.

Hotelier Michael Stivala was told by the PA’s planning commission that it would suspend the application for another three months, during which the applicants must obtain clearance from the Lands Authority.

The mandatory requirement stems from a PA circular issued in 2016, which stipulates the need for such no-objection letters from the Governmentr Property Division.

The site is the 2,500 sq.m lido on land reclaimed from the sea that was leased to the consortium of four seafont hotels – namely the Bayview, Kennedy Nova, 115 the Strand, and Waterfront hotels – on the basis of a parliamentary resolution from 2018. The consortium is fronted by Malta Developers Association president Michael Stivala.

But the resolution itself, or the land deed, specifically states that “no roof structures and services shall be placed on the roof” of the lido.

In fact, the original permit for the development was issued with a condition that the lido’s roof is left unencumbered by new structures. Still, the PA’s case officer has obliged with a recommendation for approval on condition that all outdoor furniture is kept free from advertisement and that sun-umbrellas “are kept closed when not in use”.

The case officer cited “the new operational needs of the four hotels” and the “holistic design and visual permeability” of the proposal as justification for regularisation.