Ghadira coastline set to become Danish Village beach

The Danish Village complex in Mellieha is set to get a piece of the coastline, after obtaining a permit to expand its footprint with 30 new bungalows

The project is a far cry from the initial proposal of 19 years ago, which would have seen most of the rocky area between the first and second Ghadira beaches, including protected cart ruts, covered by sunbeds
The project is a far cry from the initial proposal of 19 years ago, which would have seen most of the rocky area between the first and second Ghadira beaches, including protected cart ruts, covered by sunbeds

The Danish Village complex in Mellieha is set to get a piece of the coastline, after obtaining a permit to expand its footprint with 30 new bungalows.

The project is a far cry from the initial proposal of 19 years ago, which would have seen most of the rocky area between the first and second Ghadira beaches, including protected cart ruts, covered by sunbeds.

Instead, the latest plans will see the demountable platforms for sunbeds on the picnic area just below the promenade, which presently includes benches used by the public.

The latest plans were given the go-ahead by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage because the nearby cart ruts will be safeguarded, although works will be in their immediate vicinity.

The cart ruts discovered by archaeologist Louis Vella in 2009 and scheduled by the Superintendence a year later, were a major stumbling block for the project.

Mellieha Holiday Centre Limited have also submitted a document confirming that all structures will be erected on property owned by the company.

But in a meeting held on Friday the Planning Commission still asked for a clearance for the development from the Lands Authority as well as from Transport Malta.

The case officer’s report still notes that the proposal lies outside the identified tourism development area where the public use of the beach should be safeguarded. 19 trees grown in planters have been proposed to embellish the area and an existing concrete path will be replaced by a “barefoot friendly” one made from compacted earth.

The present application sets the parameters for the development, and will still have to be followed by a full permit.

The Planning Authority’s case officer is recommending a public deed ensuring that the beach concession is operated as part of the existing Mellieha Holiday Centre. The company, which includes a minimal 0.7% shareholding by the General Workers Union, was given a beach concession on a part of Ghadira beach by a Labour government in 1986. For the next decade, the area was left in its natural state and the only construction made was the building of a tunnel connecting the complex to the beach.

The proposed beach concession was rejected twice by the Planning Authority because it would hinder public access to the coastline – a principle enshrined in Malta’s former Structure Plan,
now SPED.

The first application for the beach concession in 1999 included stores, toilets, a snack bar and sunbathing deck; it was rejected in 2001. In 2002, the company proposed showers and a jetty, apart from a kiosk and sunbathing decks, but the application was rejected in 2004.

But an appeal on the refusal was only concluded in May 2012. In the meantime the hotel owners had presented another application in 2006, which will be decided upon in the coming weeks. Transport Malta objected to the development of stores beneath the road, saying it could interfere with future plans for the road network.

An objector to the development highlighted the use of the area by Mellieha families not only during summer but also during the winter. “During the summer many people take their own umbrellas to enjoy the seaside breeze while in the evening many gather to organise BBQs with friends and family. Even on sunny days in winter the area is frequented by people who spend the day by the beach or to make a BBQ.”

A decision on the proposed development is expected on 23 August.

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