2nd April 2008
This morning Din l-Art Helwa requested the MEPA Auditor, Mr Joseph Falzon, to review the contents of the DPA Report drawn up by the MEPA Planning Directorate for planning application 05538/04. This application proposes the redevelopment of the site known as ‘Mistra Village’ in Xemxija, St Paul’s Bay.
In particular, the Auditor was requested to review how the conclusion was reached by MEPA that this application should be recommended for approval, as the proposed building heights go against existing policies in the Local Plan.
The application proposes to build around 1,000 new apartments in 4 massive blocks with stepped ‘boomerang’ shapes, ranging from 6 to 16 storeys and reaching up to 55m in height. The North West Local Plan policy NWSP 25, clearly states that the maximum building height that can be considered on this site, through the application of the Floor Area Ratio, is 8 storeys, or at most only “slight departures” from this height. In no way can 16 storeys be viewed as a “slight departure” from 8 storeys, said the NGO.
The Environmental Impact Assessment conducted for PA 05538/04 clearly shows that the proposed building heights will have a Major negative visual impact on the surrounding landscape. Furthermore, the draft Floor Area Ratio policy of 2006 states that elevated ground and ridges are deemed inappropriate for tall buildings as they would dominate the whole landscape when viewed from low-lying ground, and would have a deleterious impact on the skyline on a national scale, said Din l-Art Helwa.