The Marriot Hotel, overlooking the popular Balluta Bay in St Julian’s, has filed a planning application to remove the existing rooftop swimming pool and build an extra two floors.

The application, filed by Benny Camilleri, on behalf of Bajja Developments Limited, is seeking permission to renew a permit issued in August 2018 to make a raft of changes to the former Le Meridien Hotel, including the construction of an additional two storeys.

The proposed works include the demolition of pool facilities and canopy at roof level; change of use from seven parking spaces to plant room, engineering stores and housekeeping facilities on level -1; and alterations to existing stores, offices and in-house commercial space on level 0.

It also proposes the extension of two upper floors above the existing hotel to house additional hotel suites and guest lounge areas, new areas of private functions including all necessary back of house facilities on roof level, and the shifting of services to the new roof level.

The applicant is also proposing the general refurbishment of the hotel on all levels, changes to the lighting arrangements on the façade as well as the addition of three signs to the hotel’s façades.

The same application had been granted the green light in August 2018, but the development never materialised. The five-year permit lapsed last month so the hotel filed a fresh application seeking its renewal.

The hotel currently consists of 277 rooms as approved in 2003 and the proposed development will see the addition of 49 rooms to add up to a total of 326 rooms

The site lies on the western flank of Balluta Bay, behind Villa Cassar Torreggiani, Villa Priuli and Villa Blanche which are Grade 2 scheduled buildings. The site has an approximate footprint area of just over 5,600 square metres and is located within the development zone.

The hotel currently consists of 277 rooms as approved in 2003 and the proposed development will see the addition of 49 rooms to add up to a total of 326 rooms.

The hotel recently constructed an outdoor pool with an underlying car park on the back. The permit had been revoked by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal and this decision was confirmed by the Court of Appeal. In the meantime, the development went ahead and the hotel then applied to sanction the works. The hotel was slapped with a €50,000 fine which it unsuccessfully tried to get reduced.

The architect argued that construction works carried out on the site in question were covered by a planning permit until the order to stop works was issued some eight months from the date of the commencement notice.

However, the planning directorate noted that the permit was a temporary one, requiring a full development application.

The Planning Authority introduced a new policy almost a decade ago allowing hotels rated as three-star or above to apply for an additional two floors above the height limitation permitted in the local plan.

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