Naxxar football ground gets planning go-ahead

The Planning Authority approves the construction of a football ground that will be used by a cluster of schools in Naxxar and the locality’s football club

The football ground will be built where the red dot is, adjacent to the Naxxar middle school and other post-secondary education facilities and will be used by Naxxar Lions football club
The football ground will be built where the red dot is, adjacent to the Naxxar middle school and other post-secondary education facilities and will be used by Naxxar Lions football club

Naxxar Lions' long-held dream of having a football ground to call home will finally be fulfilled after the Planning Authority approved the development of a pitch with spectator stands in the locality.

The ground will be developed by the Foundation for Tomorrow Schools and will be used by a cluster of secondary and post-secondary schools in the area. The locality’s football club will also be able to use the facility.

However, the ground, which will be developed on a stretch of land measuring 9,800sq.m, will be located 165m away from a fireworks factory and was approved by the Planning Commission in the absence of clearance by the army’s Explosives Committee.

The football ground will be developed on what has been described as “disturbed” and “vacant land” in the vicinity of the Maria Regina College Middle School, the Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary School, and adjacent to the MCAST Institute of Building and Construction Engineering.

The football pitch will include two underground parking levels, and will require a tunnel passing below the school grounds. The proposal also includes the construction of a gym area beneath the seating of the football pitch, and the construction of dressing rooms, a nursery, a coach office and a lecture room below the area around the pitch.

A declaration by the Education Department confirmed that the new facilities will also be used by the Naxxar Lions football club after school hours. The pitch is aimed at providing additional sports facilities, for the attainment of the “educational goals set by the curriculum”.

Part of the site is located less than 183m away from an existing fireworks factory with the closest part of the site to the factory being 165m.

The law states that fireworks factories should be located at a distance of no less than 183m from any inhabited place.

The Planning Directorate had insisted that the permit should remain non-executable until clearance is submitted from the Explosives Committee. Subsequently the project’s architect was instructed to seek clearance of the committee.

However, the commander of the Armed Forces of Malta replied that the Explosives Committee firmly objects in giving advice directly to third parties while insisting that in case the Planning Commission required feedback or guidance, the request should be made directly by the Commission. However, no such request was made by the Planning Authority.

The Commission simply noted that in view of the comments received from the Explosive Committee “no further consultation with the Explosive Committee is deemed necessary”.

Moreover, the commission noted that plans were revised in a way that the spectators’ stand was “shifted further away from the fireworks complex”.

The commission noted that the proposed development would be located within the boundaries of an already committed site for a school complex. Furthermore, it noted the location of the proposed development was at a higher ground level from the respective fireworks factory.

The Environment and Resources Authority had dropped its objections to the development after the proposal was changed and a tunnel was proposed instead of a new access road passing through undeveloped land.

A substantial part of the approved development is located within an area designated as a Strategic Open Gap where the only developments allowed are those, which enhance the landscapes through rural afforestation and soft landscaping schemes, nature conservation and opportunities for “public informal recreation”.