Times of Malta, 8th June 2008

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority has defended its position after harsh criticism over the granting of an outline permit for the redevelopment of Mistra Village into apartment blocks.

“Mepa took a responsible decision in approving a comprehensive plan to redevelop the former Mistra Village Complex. A specific policy in the approved Local Plan had established the development parameters for this site,” the authority said.

It said this development application had taken four years to complete the process, and accusations that it was rushed through were totally unfounded.

“This policy states that the site has to be comprehensively planned with a maximum 75 per cent developable site area, while also establishing a maximum floor area of 145,000 square metres.”

It also allowed the use of the floor area ratio policy (FAR). This permits flexibility in height in order to achieve a high quality comprehensive development with the provision of public open spaces for the enjoyment and comfort of the community. The use of the FAR policy restricted the maximum height to eight floors plus penthouse while allowing for slight departures, the authority said.

Traffic studies had recommended that an alternative route to Mellieħa bypassing Xemxjia Hill would have to be implemented within a realistic time frame. This would resolve the existing problem of linking Gozo and the north of Malta with the rest of the island, the authority said.