14-storey hotel approved in Sliema

The Planning Authority has approved the demolition of the Sliema Hotel, to make way for a new 14-storey, four star hotel approved on the basis of three different height polices approved in past years.

Sliema Hotel
Sliema Hotel

The Planning Authority has approved  the demolition of the existing three-star Sliema Hotel which rises to eight floors, to make way for a new 14-storey, four-star hotel. The sharp increase in height will be made possible thanks to three different policies approved in the past 12 years.

The case officer  recommended for approval the application proposed by Michael Stivala.

The height limitation for the area is set at eight floors with semi-basement, which amounts to a building height of 35.5 m. Further to this, the local plan specifies that hotels located in this area may exceed that by a height of one floor, over and above the height limit specified in the Local Plan. Moreover another policy approved in 2014 regulating the height of hotels allows two extra storeys over and above what is allowed in the local plan. This would have resulted in an 11-storey building. 

But the latest planning guidelines also translate height-in-storeys into height-in-metres in a way that two extra storeys on nine floors would result in an allowable height of 45.7 metres. In this case the 14 storeys are being compressed into 45.6 metres.

The case officer’s report does not refer to the policy regulating the application of the floor area ratio mechanism, which limits buildings over 10 floors to Tigné, Marsa, Gzira, Mriehel, Paceville and St Paul’s Bay, and obliges high-rise developers to compensate for increased height by creating public piazzas. This is because hotels are governed by a different height policy, which was approved in 2014.

The number of guest rooms will increase from the current 70 to 152. To make up for the shortfall in parking provision of 10 parking spaces, a contribution of €20,964 to the PA’s Commuted Parking Payment Scheme is being proposed.

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