Fortina lido’s land reclamation gets PA’s green light

New Fortina lido will ensure full public access to a new piazza that replaces the present top-level restaurant


The Planning Authority’s board has approved the Sliema Fortina hotel’s plans to extend lido facilities over 625sq.m through land reclamation. 

All board members, including Sliema mayor Anthony Chircop, voted in favour after the developers accepted to ensure full public access to a new piazza that will replace the present restaurant, now to be relocated to an intermediate level under the public square.

The deed will also ensure the developers pay for the maintenance costs.

The reclamation will allow an extension of the pool and deck area by 500sq.m, and the quay to be extended by 125sq.m around the lido’s perimeter, to maintain public access along the coastline.

Architect Edwin Mintoff described this is a “major public gain” as people would be able to enjoy the views from the new landscaped piazza which will be open for the public for all times. The only structure visible above ground will be a lift.

Both environmentalist lawyer Claire Bonello and Sliema mayor Anthony Chircop called for the imposition of a clear condition banning the installation of tables and chairs in the proposed public piazza, even through future planning applications not just by Fortina but also by anyone else.

Bonello expressed concern on the intermediate floor, which would have a considerable visual impact on views from Valletta, possibly creating a precedent for other developments along the promenade, and warning against the creation of a new level of development underlying the promenade along the Strand.

Executive Chairman Martin Saliba rebutted that this would be a welcome development if this meant the removal of structures from above the promenade. He said such future conditions were not possible, and instead proposed a public deed with the developer to ensure public access to the promenade.

Chircop expressed concern on the organisation of activities at night in the lido, insisting that this activity be controlled, and for mitigation measures during the land reclamation phase to ensure that the swimming area is not impacted,

The Environment and Resources Authority said the project is expected to have minimal impact of the site’s ecology and hydrology.

The lido is additional to Fortina’s demolition of its existing hotel to develop four blocks of apartments of varying height between nine and 14 floors. No planning permits for the original structures could be found as the lido was developed in the 1970s and constructed as part of a government road-widening project.