There is no way forward to developing the Festaval Hotel other than by demolishing it and again have the natural landscape, the Mellieħa local council said in an objection to a recent planning application.

Mizzi Estates filed a planning application last month seeking to demolish the abandoned hotel and reconstruct “the same” hotel structure “in line with today’s standards and requirements”.

According to the application, this will include five above groundfloor levels consisting of a reception area, hotel rooms, a pool, restaurants, back of house, parking spaces and other ancillary facilities that may be required by the hotel.

Abandoned for decades, the property was originally a self-catering holiday complex designed by Richard England, nestled in the landscape of the Mellieħa countryside just below the iconic Red Tower.

The zone in which the land is found is ecologically sensitive

However, in an objection to the new plans, the Mellieħa local council has said that, due to the ecologically sensitive nature of the area, reconstructing the hotel was not a possible way forward for the site.

“The zone in which the land is found is ecologically sensitive, so much so that it is protected by Government Notice GN 491/06, which was issued after the hotel was originally built,” the objection said.

“Given this, the only consideration the Planning Authority can approve is the demolition of the existing dangerous structures and orders the restoration of the site.”

In 2018, the company was served an enforcement notice on the Festaval Hotel for abandoning the building and allowing it to become derelict, causing “injury to amenity”.

The enforcement action is being appealed and proceedings on this case in particular are still ongoing.

The Environment and Resources Authority has said it requires additional time to carry out an assessment and indicated that an environmental impact assessment may be required to complete the evaluation.

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