No Lidl for Zebbug: developer requests renewal of old permit

Supermarket application withdrawn as developers apply to renew 2014 permit before expiry

Plans for the construction of a discount supermarket Lidl outlet and underlying commercial development in Zebbug have been scrapped.

Instead applicant Joe Cortis, owner of the former SMW Cortis site in Zebbug where the Lidl supermarket was being planned, has requested the renewal of a 2014 permit for an extension of the existing factory.

The permit had envisaged an extension of the factory of some 1,950sq.m, for two levels of storage, and larger parking and industrial loading areas. The permit had specified that the new premises be only used for “storage and distribution purposes”, limiting a proposed retail shop to 58sq.m on ground floor level.

The location is partly zoned as an ‘area of containment’ – an area meant to contain industrial developments located outside development zones (ODZ), that are meant to avoid their sprawl in the surrounding countryside. But the proposed supermarket would have extended into the surrounding ODZ to create parking spaces and provide road access for the new supermarket.

A scheduled windmill on the southern periphery of the site is surrounded on three sides by the applicant’s property.  

Transport Malta recently gave it clearance to the supermarket project, claiming any traffic it will generate will be mitigated by the Central Link project in Attard.

But the Żebbuġ council had objected to the proposal because of the traffic congestion. Moreover, it pointed to the possible social impact the project could have on established local shops and vegetable sellers who earned their living within the locality. The supermarket chain already have another three megastores within a four-mile radius, with supermarkets in Luqa, Qormi and Santa Venera.

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