Cottonera activists urge residents to petition against AUM extension

Civil action group is set up to object to extensions of American University of Malta in Bormla

The Knights Building proposal, credit: Piero Bigi
The Knights Building proposal, credit: Piero Bigi

A Cottonera civil action group has called on residents to file objections against the extensions of the American University of Malta on Dock No 1, at Bormla.

The group, ‘Azzjoni: Tuna Artna Lura’ (Give Us Back Our Land) said it wants interested parties to sign a petition and participate in other actions the group is organizing in the run-up to a Planning Authority hearing on 26 September.

“The civil action group was formed when it transpired that, contrary to the popular belief of residents, and even media reports stating otherwise, none of the Cottonera local councils have objected to the development,” spokesperson Dr Andrea Dibben said.

The AUM stairs building
The AUM stairs building

American University campus at Bormla set for approval, but dorm decision postponed

“Bormla and Senglea (Isla) local councils did send formal letters to the PA, objecting only to the depletion of public parking places which would result from the development. Only Senglea councillor Malcolm Gatt put in an objection as an individual, flagging up concerns also about loss of open and community space, as well as heritage considerations. Other objectors voicing these multiple concerns were Forum Kumunita Bormliża, Għaqda Dilettanti Sajjieda Barklori Isla, Flimkien Għal Ambient Aħjar, Din L-Art Ħelwa, Futur Ambjent Wieħed and several individuals.”

Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield recently raised some of these concerns publicly.

Aerial simulation of the AUM extensions
Aerial simulation of the AUM extensions

“Despite several cited planning policy violations, the project is being recommended for approval by the case officers,” Dibben said.

The PA application involves the construction of an administrative building between the British and the Knights Building. This building would be in place of the current open community space, recently upgraded with EU funding on the Dock 1 waterfront. The AUM would also take over the Knights Building, adding two floors to it and extending it with a “new wing”. This increase in height will block the view of the Senglea fortifications from Dock 1 and the view will be further blocked by the “new wing” extension, which will also take up further open, communal space on the Dock 1 waterfront.

The application for the building of a dormitory and car park, on an open plot with heritage remains, on St Paul’s Street is also part of the “campus masterplan”. However this part of the AUM extension application’s decision has for now been postponed.

More in Townscapes