Council protests, superintendency worried, residents angry



A bid that would see the Panorama Hotel in Mellieħa rise to eight floors continued to attract objections, including from city council, the heritage watchdog and neighbors.

Situated on top of a ridge close to Mellieħa Parish Church, the hotel was built in 1966 and offers stunning views over Għadira Bay. A development application was filed last August to build two more floors, only for the proposal to be revised a few weeks later to add another floor.

The request was submitted by Christabelle Borg, participant in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, on behalf of her father, Vincent Borg of V&C Developments.

Under a 2014 policy, hotels could be allowed to build two or more additional floors. If the planning authority were to issue the permit, the structure would significantly alter the skyline of the village core due to its proximity to the parish church, an important landmark, objectors argued.

In its submission, the local council said the proposal would violate the policy to adjust the height limit for hotels.

In particular, she pointed out that the area of ​​the site covering 424.3 square meters was far below the authorized minimum of 5,000 square meters and that it was not surrounded by existing or planned streets. Another objection was that the addition would have a negative impact on the infrastructure of the surrounding residential area.

The proposal would be contrary to the policy of adjusting the height limit for hotels

The council also said the site does not have stand-alone buildings, marking its location on a ridge.

This point was also raised by the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, who noted the hotel’s “extremely prominent” location and noted that three additional floors would “have an additional negative impact” on the long-distance views of the hotel. grade 1 parish church nearby. The superintendent also found that the request violated the policy of adjusting height limits for hotels.

Unsurprisingly, the proposal fueled objections from residents, concerned about its aesthetic impact, increased traffic due to higher commercial activity and its potential to exacerbate a parking shortage.

One resident warned that rampant development could, in the long run, undermine the tourism and accommodation industry itself.

“Tourists come to Malta to see the natural beauty and not the heights of hotels and concrete buildings. We are becoming a Dubai in the Mediterranean, which, in my opinion, is not acceptable, â€remarked one objector.

Although the application is still pending, Planning Minister Ian Borg recently said that a preliminary assessment indicated the proposal would not qualify under the height restriction adjustment policy for hotels. .

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