Developers wants retail outlet on re-zoned four-storey Burmarrad land

Change in plans undoubtedly related to a prospective amendment to the local plan to allow four-storey commercial development in Burmarrad

With plans by the government to turn a stretch of the Burmarrad motorway into a commercial zone, one major player is already moving in fast.

Plans for a retail outlet, outside development zones, have been presented by Emmanuel Fenech, three months before the government actually asked the Planning Authority to change the local plan so that commercial development can take place in this area.

The original plans presented in August envisaged the construction of a supermarket. Plans presented in November now refer to the development of a retail outlet at basement and ground floor levels with both underground and open-air parking facilities.

The change in plans is undoubtedly related to a prospective amendment to the local plan to allow four-storey commercial development in this stretch of the motorway.

The new building will occupy a 293sq.m footprint while the rest of the 802sq.m area will include parking spaces and landscaping. The retail outlet will have a commercial floor space of nearly 600-sq.m.

Easysell Ltd. had previously applied for a petrol station set on the same site, which presently consists of agricultural land. But the application was aborted after the PA approved a petrol station on a nearby plot of land owned by another company, Construction and Turnkey Ltd.

The local plan last approved in the year 2006 had included Easysell’s plot of land, which was previously undevelopable, into “an area of containment” – a designation for sites outside the development zone (ODZ) which however already include commercial developments.

But the local plan limited development on this site to one floor and only allowed retail and office development as ancillary to the main use of the site for “vehicle repairs and maintenance, storage, and showrooms.”

The Planning Authority has now been asked by the government to re-zone the 20,000 sq.m stretch along Burmarrad Road into a full-blown commercial area. The proposal, issued for public consultation in November, envisages changing the zoning of the area to include offices, retail shops and catering establishment and raises the height limitation from one floor to 17.5m, which is the equivalent of four floors. The proposed retail outlet only has a height of 4m.

The area being re-zoned includes land owned by various owners including the Burmarrad Commercials compound near the Kiabi store and land earmarked for a new showroom and offices by JVM Enterprises, which had been refused in 2013.

Over the years the PA has refused three applications to construct a boundary wall around the site owned by Easysell now identified for the construction of the retail shop.

An application by Easysell’s Anthony Fenech to develop a car wash and enclose it with a wall, was first refused in 1995, a decision confirmed on appeal by 2000 because the site had been excavated without the necessary permission, and the excavated material was left lying on site, consequently also being used for illegal dumping as well.

Similar applications were refused in 1999 and 2002, and an enforcement against the illegal construction of a wall has been pending since 1997.

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