Watchdog wants downsized Ramla Bay Resort in second phase of hotel development

The Environment and Resources Authority is calling for the downsizing of redevelopment plans of the Ramla Bay Resort

Holden Developments will increase the floor area from the present 48,000sq.m to 63,000sq.m
Holden Developments will increase the floor area from the present 48,000sq.m to 63,000sq.m

The Environment and Resources Authority is calling for the downsizing of redevelopment plans of the Ramla Bay Resort, in Mellieha.

Holden Developments will increase the floor area from the present 48,000sq.m to 63,000sq.m, with the addition of two storeys over the existing hotel’s height, reaching seven floors, the same as the heart-shaped structure built in 2016.

The 405-room hotel project, which carries the signature of architect Ray Demicoli, promises “a permanent attractive landmark at Malta’s northern tip”, the developers said.

This second phase of the hotel’s redevelopment has been designed to “blend seamlessly” into the 2016 structure, with an atrium as a main entrance, to be filled with dense vegetation and roofed over in a translucent structure.

But the ERA has raised concern over the intensified massing of the development, particularly over the cumulative landscape impacts from the first phase. “Revised plans reflecting effective downscaling of the development for Phase 2 should be submitted,” the ERA said.

The ERA wants the development to be contained within the delineated site area, with no overspill outside development zones, after a site inspection indicated spillover onto ODZ land. The ERA has also asked for a plan to restore this area back to its pristine state.

In 2016, the Planning Authority approved Ramla’s heart-shaped extension on the merits of its “iconic architecture as a permanent attractive landmark”. The extension replaced 45 apartments with 100 apartments through a seven-storey structure. But NGOs complained on the visual impact, especially when viewed from the Comino ferry and the rocky foreshore along Triq il-Marfa.

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