Jerma development brief ignores devastating impact on community – Graffitti

Moviment Graffitti says the development brief to develop around 100,000 sq.m of land is aimed to accomodate developers, not residents

The ex-Jerma hotel site in Marsascala could see 40,000sq.m of residential development
The ex-Jerma hotel site in Marsascala could see 40,000sq.m of residential development

The development brief to turn ex-Jerma hotel site in Marsascala into 100,000 sq.m of residential units, shops and a hotel completely ignores the devastating effects such a development will have on the community and the local environment, Moviment Graffitti said.

In consultation with the residents of Marsascala, Graffitti sent in its submissions to the public consultation on the development brief issued by the Planning Authority and said that the brief was drafted to accomodate developers and not residents.

"The residents of Marsascala deserve a tourism development that is proportional to the size and infrastructure of the locality, not the destruction of their local lifestyle," Graffitti said in a statement. 

It added that residents called for the demolition of the existing Jerma building that was operational up until 2007 due to the danger it poses to anyone who tries to access the coast as well as it being an eyesore for residents and tourists visiting the neighbourhood.

"It is clear that the development brief was drafted to accomodate applications already submitted to the Planning Authority," Graffitti said, criticising the brief for allowing non-touristic use of the land on which the former hotel is situated, reflecting an application submitted in 2018 for the development of a 15-storey building and also 166 apartments and shops.

The land was granted by the government in the 80s with the purpose of fostering tourism in the south of Malta, Graffitti said, but that experts in tourism today were recognising that mass tourism is no longer the best economic or social model and that the future of tourism lies in smaller and more discerning investments, ones which do not interfere with the lives of residents. 

"This is the exact opposite of what the development brief allows on the site of the former Jerma Palace as it commits 100,000 sq.m for developments... Moviment Graffitti praises the economic activity and spirit of community which have been created in this locality in recent years. It is clear that development of this scale would not only impact negatively the infrastructure of Marsascala, but also the lives of residents, with little long-term benefit to the locality."