Maltatoday, Sunday 3rd August, by James Debono –

A company owned by business magnate Albert Mizzi pays the government €349.41 (equivalent to Lm150 a year) for the land presently occupied by the Mellieha Bay Hotel and a much larger area for a total of 165,246 square metres, which is now earmarked for villa development.
Mellieha Bay Hotel, which is partly owned by Mizzi Associated Enterprises Ltd, had presented an application to develop 98 villas on the pristine area surrounding Mellieha Bay hotel.
“This piece of land was given to us by the government for development. What we are expecting is for MEPA to come back to us to tell us what sort of development can take place on this site,” Albert Mizzi had told MaltaToday when asked how the proposed development can fit with the character of the area.
A planning application presented by the developers’ architect seeks an outline permit for the construction of 98 new bungalows in the pristine Mellieha site.
A spokesperson for parliamentary secretary Jason Azzopardi, who is responsible for the lands department, revealed that the site was granted for a temporary emphyteusis of 150 years in 1963 at a yearly ground rent of €349.41, “for the development of a tourist resort hotel.”
The land was handed over to the private developer after a request by the Malta Government Tourist Board, which had approved financial and fiscal assistance to the company in conjunction with the development of a self-contained resort hotel.
The proposed development is set to cover a footprint of 5,400 square metres. It also entails the felling of trees.
A small part of the area covered by the application is designated as a site of ecological and scientific importance. All of it lies outside development boundaries.