Roadside café wants basement car park in more ODZ land

The Environment and Resources Authority is standing firm against a proposed roadside cafeteria being proposed instead of a derelict lime factory

The former lime factory which lies outside development zones, but which will be brought closer to Mriehel with the Central Link road widening project. The applicant also wants a car park with a basement level in a nearby field
The former lime factory which lies outside development zones, but which will be brought closer to Mriehel with the Central Link road widening project. The applicant also wants a car park with a basement level in a nearby field

The Environment and Resources Authority is standing firm against a proposed roadside cafeteria being proposed instead of a derelict lime factory along the extended Central Link network.

The former establishment lies outside development zones, opposite the Fort Business Centre.

The ERA warned that excavation of a basement for a car park would commit more ODZ land for future “piecemeal” development. The basement level lies in a different part of the field in question, and not beneath the lime factory, with the ERA saying that this would degrade and commit an additional part of the site. “The plans as submitted encourage a piece meal approach to commit the entire field,” the ERA said.

While the ERA’s own chairman had voted in favour of the Central Link road-widening despite the loss of 40,000 sq.m of farmland along the route, the authority now insists there is no “valid justification for the further loss of land outside the development zone boundary”.

It warned the construction of a catering outlet and it ODZ basement were not suitable, as such commercial buildings were easily located inside development zones.

Part of the ODZ land near the derelict factory is being expropriated for the Central Link road, therefore bringing the former factory closer to the bypass, justifying the rationale for the roadside cafeteria.

The application is being proposed by Raymond Zammit, who declared having the “consent” of the site owners.

The first plans were presented in March but were only published on the PA website in August. Previously the application was listed as ‘incomplete’ and therefore not accessible to the public.

The proposal is for the factory to be rebuilt on three levels, including basement level, on a 200sq.m footprint. The upper floor will be reserved for “executive dining”.

In 2003 an application presented by Joe Micallef had proposed stores, parking facilities and a ground floor wedding hall on the same site. The application was refused due to its ODZ location.

Earlier this week, another application was presented by Donit Limited, to construct a garden centre outside development zones, including offices, retail space and a car park, at Sqaq Tal-Hofra further down the alley from the Michael Attard petrol station.

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