Developer proposes tunnel instead of planned stairway in Sliema

Instead of the public stairway which was never constructed, the planning application proposes a 50-meter long and two-meter wide tunnel

The site is occupied by an existing old but inhabited building which blocks access to the upper part of Parisio Street
The site is occupied by an existing old but inhabited building which blocks access to the upper part of Parisio Street

A proposal has been presented to the Planning Authority to do away with a planned public stairway meant to link upper and lower Parisio Street in Sliema to enable the redevelopment of a derelict building in to a four storey residential block at the junction with Moroni Street.

Instead of the public stairway which was never constructed, the planning control application presented by developer and hotelier Michael Stivala, proposes a 50-meter long and two-meter wide tunnel and a 50-meter long water culvert. The designated width for the planned stairs was 12.2m.

The pedestrian passage and the water culvert will be constructed at the expense of the applicant to serve as a “pedestrian link between Triq Moroni and Triq Parisio”. The schemed stairway dates back to 1961. The scheme, with the proposed stairs, was replicated in the Temporary Provision Schemes of 1989 and subsequently in the 2006 North Harbours Local Plan.

The site is occupied by an existing old but inhabited building which blocks access to the upper part of Parisio Street. 

Only last year the PA had rejected a planning control application presented by the authority itself in 2012 to do away with the projected schemed stairway/public access and include the site as part of the residential area.  

On its own initiative, the Sliema Local Council had carried out a public consultation exercise whereby it requested the opinion of the residents of the area who expressed themselves in favour of the proposed staircase. Subsequently the council insisted that plans for the stairway are retained.

In a written submission the Sliema Local Council while commending the applicant’s inclusion of a public passageway and a storm water culvert in the development still registered itself as an objector so as “to be kept informed on the proceedings of this application at Parisio Street”.

Various residents including the tenant living in the existing have objected to the proposed development earmarked in the planning control application. The tenant claimed that the notice of the application was attached to his residence without him being informed of the proposed plan. 

Another resident insisted that the construction of the stairs is necessary as construction works in the area are already obstructing access along Parisio street, obliging residents to use Triq Gianni Bencini which is a very steep hill.  Another resident insisted that a narrow passage way is no substitute for a public stairway, which can be adorned with trees.

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