Meridien hotel in Balluta to rise to 14 storeys

The Planning Authority has approved two new floors on the Le Meridien hotel in Balluta Bay, which will see its rooms increase from 277 to 326

The Planning Authority has approved two new floors on the Le Meridien hotel in Balluta Bay, which will see its rooms increase from 277 to 326.

The PA’s own heritage watchdog has warned that the proposed works pose a “high risk” to the stately Villa Cassar Torregiani due to vehicles, cranes and other machinery entering and exiting the site.  

In view of this “high risk of civil damage”, the Heritage Protection Unit recommended a €100,000 bank guaranteed which has been included in the permit conditions. The developers also presented a work method statement aimed at minimising risks to the villa. The forfeiture of the bank guarantee does not preclude the Authority from taking further action if the conditions are not adhered to.

The method statement outlines a number of measures to ensure appropriate protection of Villa Cassar Torregiani during the works. These measures include the hoarding off of part of the villa’s outer walls so as to avoid the passage of any workmen or machinery in its close proximity. Meanwhile, the terrace linking the hotel and the villa will be an off-limits area during works to ensure that no construction or machinery will be placed in this area.

The development will result in a shortfall of 54 parking spaces, for which the developers will be making a €113,207 contribution to the PA’s Commuted Parking Payment Scheme.

The proposed height was deemed compatible with the surrounding development and urban fabric, “using similar architectural features and similar proportions along the whole length of the façade” according to case officer.

The report confirms that the height of the hotel from the St Julian’s ramp will rise to 51m – nine metres than what is permitted by the policies regulating hotel heights. However, the development was deemed acceptable as the height from the hotel’s main entrance is less than the 42m allowed by policy.

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