Motorway fantasy: Attard’s Pit Stop fuel station wants to build restaurant

Hungry travellers crossing from Attard to Rabat promised restaurant, built outside development zones

The great Rabat motorway has since time immemorial lacked a fundamental rest station for weary travellers making the grand 10-minute crossing from Attard to Rabat. And now, it seems the long awaited catering establishment has arrived. Plans have been submitted to the Planning Authority by the owners of the Pit Stop  petrol station, for a restaurant that would be located outside development zones in Attard.

The owners of the petrol station have applied for an extension consisting of a restaurant and a parking area, which if approved would abut into the boundary of the neighbouring mental health hospital in an area known for its tranquillity.

The development will be developed on 2,143sq.m of vacant land. The restaurant will be built on two levels on a 220sq.m footprint. The development will also include a 110 sq.m outdoor area.

In March 2017, the PA had approved an application to construct an additional floor over the petrol station’s shop to cater for 100sq.m of offices. Originally the application also included a restaurant but this was later omitted. The application was approved by the PA’s planning commission despite the contrary advice of the case officer, who argued that there was enough space at ground level to cater for the offices.

The ODZ petrol station was also originally approved in 2006 despite a clear recommendation of the case officer against its approval.

The Attard local council and parliamentarians from both major parties also opposed the project. An extension to the car wash and the inclusion of bathroom facilities was approved in 2009. The petrol station had been approved in the absence of any policy regulating the development of petrol stations in ODZ.

The latest plans have been presented by architect Stephen Vancell who works for Environmental Management Design Planning (EMDP), a planning consultancy owned by Mariello Spiteri – who himself sits on the PA’s planning commission. Spiteri abstains on all cases involving his company.

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