Superintendence wants height reduction for Naxxar 10-storey development

Superintendence for Cultural Heritage says 10-storey Naxxar project would 'challenge the scenic significance of the parish churches of Mosta and Naxxar'

The proposed 10-storey development would ‘dwarf’ the historical chapel of St Jacob the Apostle
The proposed 10-storey development would ‘dwarf’ the historical chapel of St Jacob the Apostle

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage is calling for a significant reduction in the height of a proposed 10-storey development on the grounds of the former Trade Fair’s car park in Naxxar, warning that it would “challenge the scenic significance of the parish churches of Mosta and Naxxar”, especially when viewed from St Paul’s Bay and Mdina.

The national heritage watchdog warned that the development will “permanently reconfigure” the visual appearance of the most prominent urban centres of the central-north area, “proposing a massive solid block which is not taking into consideration the traditional and established Maltese skyline.”

The Superintendence also drew attention to the fact that the building will be sited on the already high Naxxar ridge. “Any high development at this location will have an inevitable impact on the landscape and it will dominate and redefine various views of the island.”

The massive development will also “dwarf” the historical chapel of St Jacob the Apostle and will “divorce it totally from the context, obliterating its legibility”, the Superintendence said.

The Superintendence also drew attention to the existence of underground irrigation water galleries and tunnels in connection with Palazzo Parisio’s garden and alerted the developers to the possibility of the discovery of archaeological remains in this area.

As proposed, the development will involve the excavation of three underground levels and the construction of 10 floors above ground up to an overall height of 32m.

The project includes a supermarket, retail and food and beverage shops, office accommodation, a gymnasium, a day-care centre, and 113 residential units, together with 253 car parking spaces.

The development is being proposed by SPTT Properties, a company formed in 2018 by various commercial groups: they include Dutch business group Wygron Beheer, Malta property group Belair – one of the developers behind Gzira’s 17 East high-rise – hotelier Ian Decesare’s Sonnet Inv, Ab Initio Limited, JND properties, L.A. Developments, J&J Holdings, IN Space, as well as other independent property owners and also legal consultants.

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