‘Guesthouses’ sprawling into residential areas in Birkirkara, Sliema and Gozo

Six-storey guesthouse in Sliema’s Amery Street, five-storey and four-storey guesthouses in Birkirkara and San Lawrenz

The traditional Sliema townhouse to the right will rise to six storeys
The traditional Sliema townhouse to the right will rise to six storeys

In a sign that tourism is sprawling from tourist centres to residential areas, the Planning Authority is increasingly faced with applications to develop guesthouses inside residential areas, in some cases exceeding the prevailing heights of characteristic neighbourhoods.

Four new floors are being proposed on a townhouse forming part of a characteristic row of two-storey buildings in Amery Street which forms part of Sliema’s urban conservation area (UCA).

The 28-room guesthouse is being proposed by Michael Cassar Torregiani, who owns the building. The proposal includes the partial demolition of the existing building whilst retaining the facade.

The streetscape analysis for the Amery Street house
The streetscape analysis for the Amery Street house

The development will include a basement level and the construction of three new levels and a receded floor. A dining area is being proposed as an amenity to the proposed guesthouse. As proposed the new guesthouse will rise higher than any of the neighbouring buildings, as confirmed by a streetscape analysis presented by the developer’s architect. This application is still in its initial stages.

A decision on a proposal to add two floors on a similar townhouse located opposite the proposed guesthouse is expected on 30 August. The case officer is recommending the refusal of this application after noting that the additional height does not respect the context characterised by two-storey high buildings.

Three additional storeys proposed on B’Kara townhouses

A 30-room guest house which will include three new floors is being proposed in an area occupied by two townhouses located in the corner between Triq Mannarino and Triq il-Qalb Imqaddsa.

Although left outside the locality’s designated urban conservation area the surroundings are characterised by old two storey buildings.

The house to the right on Mannarino Road in Birkirkara, will have two floors added
The house to the right on Mannarino Road in Birkirkara, will have two floors added

An extra two floors, one of which receded, can be allowed due to local plan policies. In this application the three new floors are fitted within the allowable metric height. Despite the relaxation of building heights in 2006, so far the area has retained its characteristic heights.

The application as proposed by Jarom Investments Ltd envisages the internal demolition of two existing townhouses and an existing shop, retaining the facades, and the construction of basement stores and kitchen, a ground floor restaurant and an overlying guesthouse build over five levels, one of which receded.

The Mannarino Road streetscape as proposed
The Mannarino Road streetscape as proposed

Two extra floors in San Lawrenz

Even in the tiny village of San Lawrenz in Gozo a guesthouse built over four levels, one of which receded, is being proposed instead of an existing garage in Triq ta’ Cangura, in the vicinity of the parish church. The development, which will also be higher than most surrounding developments, will cater for nine rooms. A restaurant is also being proposed at roof level.

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