Planning Authority approves Xagħra ODZ hotel

The 58-room hotel will be built on four floors and will extend outside the development zone

The hotel will have 58 rooms spread over four floors
The hotel will have 58 rooms spread over four floors

The Planning Authority’s planning commission has approved a 58-room hotel built over four floors extending outside development zones and overlooking the valley between Marsalforn and Xaghra, after the developers presented plans to relocate a part of the old farmhouse previously earmarked for demolition.

The relocation is limited to one larger room built with thick rubble wall with four stone arches supporting a stone slab. 

According to a restoration method statement presented by architect Joseph Bondin, the existing stone slabs and stone arches will be numbered and marked in place, and carefully dismantled and stored in a safe location, one at a time, for ease of reconstruction. 

New foundations will be prepared in the proposed relocation position, using ashlar recycled stones.

The case officer had originally recommended that the permit should be refused after the Superintendence had objected to the demolition of the farmhouse.

Although the hotel will be partly located in a rural hamlet, its footprint will extend into the neighbouring countryside. The site presently consists of an abandoned agricultural farmhouse with a 220sq.m footprint and adjoining agricultural fields.

Hotels are not mentioned among the types of development allowed in rural hamlets in the Gozo local plan. The only tourist development envisaged in these areas are hostels.

The development will also include two ODZ swimming pools outside the boundaries of the hamlet and an adjacent three-storey terraced house.

The hotel and an adjacent three-storey terraced house will be built over a footprint of 1,812sq.m of which 720sq.m will be built up. The footprint will now increase with the addition of the relocated farmhouse.

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage had previously drawn attention to the presence of caves along the overhanging rock falling immediately outside the site footprint proposed for development, as well as beneath the site’s footprint.

The development originally described as a “3-star agro-tourism boutique hotel” is being proposed by developer Alfred Refalo and will be managed by Frankie Spiteri who also manages the Quaint Hotel chain in Gozo.

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