Mensija residents irked at loss of valley views to eight-storey block

San Gwann residents have been left fuming over the loss of views caused by an eight-storey luxury block

The project is still being assessed by the Planning Authority, but it is already being advertised by developer J. Portelli Projects for its location in a “calm, serene and exclusive area of San Gwann enjoying breath-taking views of the Swieqi Valley”
The project is still being assessed by the Planning Authority, but it is already being advertised by developer J. Portelli Projects for its location in a “calm, serene and exclusive area of San Gwann enjoying breath-taking views of the Swieqi Valley”

San Gwann’s old Mensija area gave its residents a sweeping view of the Swieqi valley beneath.

But now, those same “breath-taking valley views” are being sold off to the future residents of the new Valley View Mansions, an eight-storey luxury block that has residents fuming about their own loss of views and open spaces.

The project is still being assessed by the Planning Authority, but it is already being advertised by developer J. Portelli Projects for its location in a “calm, serene and exclusive area of San Gwann enjoying breath-taking views of the Swieqi Valley”.

Proposed along Triq is-Santwarju in an undeveloped area, a short distance away from the picturesque Mensija chapel, the development will rise five storeys (17.5m) above street level and will be eight storeys high in total when viewed from the valley.

Presently the site is a green area within development zones which includes a derelict farm building, which will be cleared, as well as a number of trees. A cave is also located just outside the boundaries of the proposed development. Although a car park for 37 cars will be excavated on three levels below the street, and the structure will also include apartments and facilities overlooking the valley, plans indicate that no excavations will be carried out in the area immediately adjacent to the cave.

Curiously, the project’s architect Ray Demicoli, lives next door to the proposed project.

The upmarket development will include five pools and gardens at basement level, an office, duplex residential units with gardens and pools and overlying residential apartments.

But residents in the area are not enthusiastic at losing their own valley views.  Objectors include the former PN MEP candidate Michael Briguglio, who has been contacted by residents angered by the proposed development. “Residents of the area are being robbed of green areas and open spaces. In view of the volume and size of this development proposal, environment, traffic and social impact assessments are required so as to mitigate cumulative impacts should the PA consider it for approval,” Briguglio, a sociologist, said in his objection.

In 2003, the Planning Authority had refused an application to construct basement garages and dwellings on the same site.

The local plan zones a substantial part of the site for detached and semi-detached development with a height limit of two storeys and a semi-basement (13.5 m). But apartment blocks of three storeys and a semi-basement (17.5m) are allowed along Triq is-Santwarju which includes the lush garden next to the Mensija chapel.

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