Appeals Tribunal revokes Stivala’s Sliema hotel permit

The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal has revoked a permit for the construction of an 11-storey hotel by developer Michael Stivala in Sliema

The Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) has revoked a permit for the construction of an 11-storey hotel by developer Michael Stivala in Sliema.

The proposed hotel is to replace an old, derelict farmhouse standing between lower and upper Parisio street at the intersection with Triq Moroni, opposite the Villa Bonici Gardens. 

The hotel is being proposed in a part of Sliema zoned as a ‘residential area’ in the local plan, where hotels are not allowed. But the development was still approved because of a policy on ‘consolidation and regeneration initiatives’ – that gives the PA flexibility in assessing tourism development if it is compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood. 

But in its decision the Tribunal made it clear that hostels not hotels can be approved in this residential part of Sliema.

The EPRT noted the willingness of the developer to convert the proposed hotel into a hostel and for this reason it concluded that the PA should reassesses the application based on new plans for a hostel.

Moreover, the Tribunal also upheld the argument made by objectors that the PA was applying the wrong height limitation. While the PA insisted that the proposed 24.2m height fell in line with the height limitation in the local plan of four floors and a semi basement, the area falls in a zone where no semi basements are allowed. According to the tribunal this would translate to a height of 20.8 meters.

The successful appeal was presented by Moviment Graffitti, Arnold Cassola and several residents.

The ownership of the hotel in question was subject to unrelated court proceedings.

In September, Stivala saw his bid for a 75sq.m portion of land in question fail when it was auctioned for €9 million and bought by Carmel Buttigieg.

Buttigieg forced the auction by refusing to sell his original share in the land to Stivala.

Stivala had secured a deal with 71 out of 72 shareholders but was unable to strike a deal with Buttigieg. The issue went to court, which ordered that the land be auctioned off.

Back then Stivala made it clear that despite this setback he had not abandoned his plans for the area hinting that he intended submitting new plans.