American University parking spaces should be given to Bormla residents, mayor says

Bormla mayor says half of American University parking spaces should be given to residents

Sadeen was awarded a permit to allow the development of a campus on the site of the British building in Dock 1 in Cospicua in August 2016
Sadeen was awarded a permit to allow the development of a campus on the site of the British building in Dock 1 in Cospicua in August 2016

Bormla mayor Alison Zerafa Civelli has called on the American University of Malta to allocate half of the parking spaces included in plans for an underground carpark to be reserved for residents.

The Planning Authority is currently assessing plans for the extension of the university’s campus consisting of an additional floor on the Knights’ building and three new buildings in Bormla’s Dock Number 1 area.

While the council has made it clear that it is not against the proposed development, it said that it is “very concerned with the impact on the traffic flow” that this project will have on Bormla.

“The acute parking problem in our city is a reality which cannot be ignored. We believe that the above development will increase this problem to unprecedented levels,” the mayor said in submissions sent to the Planning Authority, which is currently assessing the application.

The council has called on the developers to present a Traffic Impact Assessment.

The council is also calling on the Authority to give Bormla residents “free and unencumbered access” to two levels of underground parking, reserved solely for the residents of Cospicua. Staff employed with American University of Malta, students lodged in the Accommodation Building above the St Paul’s car park or any other building falling under AUM’s responsibility, are to be precluded from using these levels.

“This means that a minimum of 90 parking spaces (50%) in the multi-level underground parking would be reserved for our residents. Should the plans be modified to increase the amount of parking spaces in the underground parking area, the parking spaces to be reserved for our residents should be increased pro-rata,” the council said.

The council also wants that the areas in the multi-level underground parking to be reserved for Cospicua residents, are put under CCTV surveillance, regularly cleaned and properly maintained at all times.

The council also insisted that Cospicua residents be given free and unencumbered access to the street level parking spaces in Triq il-Karmnu, Bormla. Out of the 41 parking on street spaces proposed by the developers, the Council insists that “only 50% of these spaces shall be reserved for AUM staff and students”.

The PA’s Design Advisory Committee, which advises the authority on design issues, has also expressed its concern on some aspects of the proposed project, particularly on the height of an accommodation building proposed on the carpark in St Paul’s Street: “This building is too high and has a negative impact on the skyline.”

The application foresees the construction of a modern stand-alone administrative building, set over five levels between the British and the Knights building, and a new wing for the Knights building along Triq 31 ta’ Marzu, also set over five levels.

Developer Sadeen Education Malta has also applied for the excavation of the existing surface car park in Triq San Pawl, and the construction of a multi-level underground parking with a four-storey student accommodation building above.

A year ago the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage had called for changes to plans warning that “as proposed, the church’s main features will no longer be visible from the water’s edge level and along Triq Dom Mintoff,” according to a memo sent by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage to the Planning Authority.

In August 2016, Sadeen was awarded a permit to allow the development of a campus on the site of the British building in Dock 1 in Cospicua. This was approved by the Planning Authority despite the lack of a master plan for the whole site.

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