New zoning attempt to drop Qawra villas and turn them into apartment blocks

Owners of a row of one-storey Qawra bungalows are proposing zoning changes first rejected in 2017, which could pave the way for apartments on this characteristic area

Will Qawra lose villa zoning?
Will Qawra lose villa zoning?

Owners of a row of one-storey Qawra bungalows are proposing zoning changes first rejected in 2017, which could pave the way for apartments on this characteristic area.

The re-zoning application asks that the row of 11 detached, one-story bungalows along the Qawra coats, be rezoned for three-story apartment blocks – over 12 metres in height – which would increase the low-density area’s built coverage to 50%.

In 2017, a proposal for four-storey apartment blocks in the same area was unanimously rejected by the Planning Authority’s executive council, after 280 Qawra residents objected to the plans.

The site is part of a larger area that once belonged to a single owner, who included restrictive conditions in each contract to preserve the site as developed in line with a holistic master plan.

But changes to the local plan in 2006, designating the area as a ‘residential priority area’, paved the way for proposed rezoning.

PA board chairman Vince Cassar had described this as “one of many mistakes made in 2006”, during a public hearing in 2017.  

One of the reasons why the original proposal was not approved was that two owners had not granted their consent to the application. A plot owner has already formally objected to the latest plans, arguing that the new PC application is not different from the one turned down by the PA two years ago. “This application is not an enhancement but an exercise to ruin the amenity, character and distinctiveness that exists and should be refused for the same reasons.”

The planning application was presented by Joe Tanti's Ammorin Limited who owns five of the villas. Five other owners including Karmar Ltd, Cardor Ltd and Islets Dev Ltd have also signed the application.

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