MIDI says Manoel Island amendments do not impact on overall heights

MIDI says total built-up area in amended plan is identical to the built-up area contemplated in the original Manoel Island plans

Manoel Island
Manoel Island

Manoel Island developer MIDI plc has issued a statement saying that proposed amendments to its masterplan for the island will not impact the overall building heights to be developed and that there will be no change to the overall built-up area. 

Buildings on the Ta’ Xbiex side of Manoel Island could rise to four floors instead of three if plans submitted by developers are approved. The new plans submitted last September propose that buildings overlooking the yacht marina will rise to 18.5 metres, an increase of four metres over previous drawings. 

Original plans submitted in September 2017 foresaw that most buildings facing the yacht marina on the Ta’ Xbiex side would have a height of 14.5 metres. The latest plans do not envisage any take-up of more land from that identified last year. Additionally, some buildings facing the Gżira waterfront and which overlook an area identified for land reclamation, have been removed. 

The company today said that the total built-up area as detailed in the amended plans is identical to the built-up area contemplated in the original plans and that the building heights in the amended plans are in line with the building heights in the original plans. 

“The amended plans submitted by MIDI plc to the Planning Authority, at the beginning of September, reflect the design development of the Master Plan (PA9407/17) throughout the last 12 months and include: the re-massing and re-distribution of volume from the north to the south residential clusters; reduction in breakwater length; update of marina layout and design; repositioning of the south pedestrian bridge; reconfiguration of the gateway to reduce massing and improve car park access; and the update of the layout of the sports facilities.” 

MIDI said the transfer of volume from the north clusters to the south clusters contemplates the development of one additional receded floor along the marina in order to accommodate the volume transferred from the north clusters. 

“As a result the building heights along the marina are proposed to include three floors plus one receded floor. These modifications do not increase the overall heights of the development as contemplated in the original master plan and the overall built-up area of the Manoel Island development remains unchanged. The amended plans respect MIDI’s obligations in terms of the Guardianship Deed.” 

Manoel Island forms part of the MIDI project that includes Tigne Point.

The Manoel Island Foundation said on Tuesday evening that during the consultation period it reviewed the amended plans pertaining to the Manoel Island Master Plan submitted by MIDI plc to the Planning Authority. “The amendments as proposed constitute a transfer of the residential volumes from the north clusters to the south clusters and the overall development remains a low rise development which does not exceed 4 floors across the island. Furthermore, the proposed amendments do not contemplate any change to the building volumes as originally proposed. The Manoel Island Foundation confirms its commitment to ensuring that MIDI adheres to its obligations in terms of the Guardianship Deed.” 

The new plans represent a change from the scale of development assessed in photomontages that formed part of the Environmental Impact Assessment. They would represent an intensification of development overlooking Ta’ Xbiex and a reduced impact on views from Gzira. 

Commenting on the application on Facebook, former AD chairperson Arnold Cassola decried the lack of consultation over the recent changes in the proposed height of the project. 

An EIA presented in May had assessed the visual impact of the proposed 610 new apartments on Manoel Island. The study had concluded that views from Ta’ Xbiex would have already obscured all medium- and long-distance views of the Gzziraa and Sliema front from this location. 

The proposal assessed in the EIA represented an increase in the number of residential units but a decrease of 8,000 sq.m in the total gross floor area of the project when compared to the approved masterplan of 1999. The project also includes a 5-star hotel located in the Lazzaretto complex, an 8,449 sq.m retail complex, a marina for 183 berths and 3,695 sq.m allocated for sports facilities. 

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