Paceville high-rise on Augustinian land set for rejection

A 12-storey building proposed by private developers on land belonging to the Augustinian Order in Paceville may be rejected

The land belonging to the Augustinian Order is currently being used as an open car park
The land belonging to the Augustinian Order is currently being used as an open car park

The Planning Authority Board on Thursday indicated its intention to refuse the application for a 12-storey building on land in Paceville owned by the Augustinian Order.

Theboard’s vote was not binding and a final vote will be taken in a later sitting.

The postponement of a final vote on the project is mandated by the Planning Act, which states that whenever the board indicates its intention to go against the case officer’s recommendation, a decision can only be taken in another sitting.

The application was recommended for approval by the Planning Directorate despite the objections of the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage that the development “will dwarf” a scheduled convent and the St Rita chapel.

The development, proposed by Bay Street Holdings – whose owners include George Muscat of GAP Holdings and Paul Camilleri – is located in a residential buffer zone where buildings are limited to four storeys.

Following reports on MaltaToday earlier this year, Archbishop Charles Scicluna had called on the Interdiocesan Environment Commission to investigate the case.

In its findings, the commission concluded that a 12-storey facade overlooking St Augustine Street was too large and would adversely affect residents and passers-by, and that the proposed building is too close to the priory and chapel, which are, scheduled Grade 2 buildings.

PA board chairman Vince Cassar
PA board chairman Vince Cassar

During the meeting, Board Chairman Vince Cassar expressed his concern on the impact on residents and the Grade 2 buildings and lamented the absence of a master plan for the area.

Similar concerns were expressed by Environment and Resources Authority Chairman Victor Asciak.

Qawra 10-storey hotel approved

In the same sitting the Planning Authority approved a 10-storey hotel in a low-rise area of Qawra to replace the three-storey Seaview Hotel.

The hotel is opposite the public water park along the Qawra promenade.

Plans include a car tunnel running beneath the promenade and emerging beside the rocky shore.  The developers had dropped original plans for a beach concession on the rocky shoreline.

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