Shoreline residences approved but Labour MP raises concern over full Smart City impact

The Planning Authority board has approved the development of 372 apartments and retail space at Smart City but Clayton Bartolo expresses concern over master plan for area

The Shoreline impact is mitigated once all of Smart City is developed but Labour MP Clayton Bartolo has expressed concern over the visual impact of the whole area once all buildings go up
The Shoreline impact is mitigated once all of Smart City is developed but Labour MP Clayton Bartolo has expressed concern over the visual impact of the whole area once all buildings go up

The Planning Authority has approved the Shoreline residential and commercial project in Smart City, which includes 372 apartments and 28,000 sq.m. of retail space.

Only Annick Bonello, who represents NGOs, voted against the project, on the basis that the departure from the approved master plan was creating a precedent.

The Smart City master plan was approved in 2009 but the company chose to transfer the floor space from different areas of the site to allow the Shoreline project to go ahead.

During the meeting on Thursday morning, government representative, Labour MP Clayton Bartolo, expressed concern on the full impact of the Smart City master plan, which includes plots that are still to be developed including tracts of unspoilt land.

“It is true that this project is foreseen in a legally binding master plan but any concern expressed on this project pales into insignificance when compared to the full extent of the Smart City development,” Bartolo said.

Smart City when fully developed, as seen from Valletta
Smart City when fully developed, as seen from Valletta
Smart City from Ricasoli
Smart City from Ricasoli

His concern was motivated by photomontages showing the Shoreline project in relation to development which still has to be approved in Smart City.

Last year, Smart City, which includes a government-appointed director, submitted an application to increase the floor space for residential areas. But the application has been suspended pending more studies.

Photomontages included in the environment impact assessment showed the visual impact of the Shoreline project being screened by yet to be developed areas of Smart City.

This was particularly the case for views from Xgħajra and Ricasoli, where the Shoreline project will have a major impact on its own but would have no impact after it is screened by other developments foreseen in the original master plan.

But these photomontages did not take into consideration of the transfer of 55,000 sq.m. of land from other parts of the Smart City development to Shoreline. 

This emerged from a reply by EIA consultants to a query made by the Nationalist Party representative, Marthese Portelli. 

The developer’s architect pointed out that the land has been transferred from the highest ground of the project and therefore the impact on Valletta views has been reduced. 

The original master plan did not foresee this scale of commercial and residential development proposed on land allocated to the Shoreline.

However, the decision to transfer developable area from one part of the project to the Shoreline means that the project will not exceed the overall developable limits imposed on Smart City by the master plan.

Underground spaces totalling some 14,000 sq.m. of retail areas were not considered as part of gross floor area ratio of the project when assessing its conformity to master plan. 

 

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